Britain will pilot vaccine passports to encourage the return of fans to sports events, the culture minister has announced, as he claimed the future of the sporting industry depended on crowds filling seats this summer.
In an interview with The Sun, Oliver Dowden said: “We are working to make sure we can get as many people as we can into the final and the semis and deal with all the other challenges around that. In terms of going further than that we stand ready, but its really for them to come to us.”
“Another thing that we are considering is a Covid certification, and we’ll be testing whether we can use Covid certification to help facilitate the return of sports,” Oliver Dowden said this morning.
“[We’re] working with many, many people to see how we can get people back safely in large numbers, because if we don’t manage to do it this summer… I’m really worried about the future of those industries,” he added.
Fans will be allowed to return to sports events from 17 May under the Prime Minister’s roadmap for leaving lockdown.
Indoor events will be capped at 1,000 people — or 50 per cent capacity, whichever is lower. For outdoor events this will be 50 per cent capacity or 4,000 supporters — whichever is lower.
Larger outdoor seated venues such as football stadiums will be allowed up to 10,000 people or be a quarter full, whichever is lower, from mid-May.
The Football Association (FA) is currently in discussions to allow Wembley Stadium to be one-third full of spectators for the FA and Carabao Cup finals in late April and mid-May, providing it is safe to do so.
The matches will prove a warm-up for crowds ahead of Wembley’s seven Euro 2020 cup matches this summer, including all three of England’s group games.
In an interview with The Sun, Dowden said: “We are working to make sure we can get as many people as we can into the final and the semis and deal with all the other challenges around that. In terms of going further than that we stand ready, but its really for them to come to us.”
Supporters have been banned from attending sporting venues across England since the tier system was scrapped in December.
It comes after the Prime Minister last month appointed Michael Gove to oversee a review into the possibility of vaccine passports. The taskforce, which will report its findings to Boris Johnson on 12 April, has been asked to ensure “that any shorter-term changes act as a bridge to longer-term objectives on delivering vaccine certification to facilitate travel”.
The EU earlier this week unveiled plans to introduce vaccine passports to unlock international travel after months of closure, in a major boost for Britons’ hopes of holidays abroad this summer.
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen outlined proposals for the EU’s Digital Green Certificate this afternoon, with the passports set to come into effect from early June.
Brits who can prove they have received both doses of a Covid vaccine, can provide proof of antibodies or can show details of a negative test, will be able to travel to Europe under the scheme.