UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced this week that the majority of Covid-19 restrictions – including those on crowd sizes at live sport – will be lifted from 19 July.
And sports clubs across the country have reacted with joy to the news.
West Ham United said it is delighted to be able to welcome the return of full 60,000 crowds to London Stadium from the start of the 2021/22 season.
The Hammers will be playing in front of a full London Stadium very soon, with the Hammers hosting Leicester City in their home Premier League opener on Monday 23 August.
Hammers skipper Mark Noble is thrilled at the prospect of hearing 60,000 Hammers sing Bubbles once more. He said:
I was at Wembley for the England-Germany game last week and hearing that atmosphere made me think when we can have 60,000 back – the 10,000 we had back for the Southampton game was pretty special – would be fantastic.
I got a bit emotional at that game against Southampton thinking I’m not going to have many more of these as a player. So it’s going to be lovely to have the fans back, and we are going to need them too.
West Ham said that as we move towards a Government decision on Step 4 of the roadmap and beyond, the club will continue to work with the Premier League, football stakeholders and relevant public authorities to ensure that the return to full capacity is done in a way that keeps everyone safe.
Meanwhile, the MCC has confirmed that the One Day International between England and Pakistan will be held in front of a capacity crowd.
The fixture falls before the planned relaxation of Government restrictions on 19 July and MCC has been working closely with ECB, DCMS, Public Health England and Westminster City Council on obtaining the green light to allow more supporters into the Home of Cricket for this match.
The Government’s science-led Events Research Programme is conducting scientific research studies at all events to gather the evidence that will inform how crowds can be returned to live events as safely as possible. The results of studies will be used to help shape policy and future guidelines.
Strict entry requirements are in place including proof of testing, or proof of vaccination in order to allow these trials to take place safely. All attendees have been informed that the event they are attending is a research event and that it is different to other events allowed at step 3 of the roadmap.
In addition to being at full capacity, the Covid restrictions will be disapplied to Lord’s during this match, but risk mitigation measures will still be in place including Test and Trace, hand sanitisation and face coverings worn when moving around the Ground.
Guy Lavender, Chief Executive & Secretary of MCC, said:
We are heartened to be able to welcome full crowds into Lord’s for the forthcoming encounter between England and Pakistan. To have England men’s first ODI at the Home of Cricket in almost two years and in front of a capacity crowd, will be truly memorable.
There has been tremendous work going on behind the scenes and we are grateful to ECB, DCMS, Public Health England and Westminster City Council for their support and cooperation in achieving this outcome.
We look forward to welcoming cricket fans back to the Home of Cricket, for what will be a full weekend of sport and most importantly with crowds.