Sports: Coronavirus

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 26th October 2020.

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Photo of Lord Jones of Cheltenham Lord Jones of Cheltenham Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government to what level new COVID-19 infection cases must fall before they allow sports venues to reopen to spectators.

Photo of Baroness Barran Baroness Barran The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

The Government fully understands the decision not to reopen stadia on October 1 is frustrating for sports fans. But in the face of rising infections and further restrictions it would not have been possible. The decision was taken on advice from the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and the Chief Scientific Officer (CSA) and takes into account travelling to and from games held in stadia, where there may be further social interaction and the risk of virus spread. The safety and security of players and spectators remains of paramount importance.

I am grateful to those clubs who have piloted the return of spectators so far. Work continues at pace to find solutions that will allow crowds safely back into stadia as soon as possible. The Government will continue to work closely with the Sports Ground Safety Authority (SGSA) and a whole range of sports to understand the latest thinking that might allow spectators to return. This includes the creation of a new Sports Technology Innovation Working Group of sporting bodies and health experts to analyse new technologies which might support this. Spectators will return to stadia when it is safe to do so, and we will keep this under review. The decision to do so will involve a wider set of metrics than just the level of infections.

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