The Prime Minister of United Kingdom Boris Johnson has hinted that football fans might start attending live matches at stadiums across the country as the government plans gradual reopening of leisure centres including stadia.
The Prime Minister announced on Friday that there would be pilot events in October which would be used to test how safe it is for people to gather in mass amid the coronavirus pandemic. This is the next phase of the gradual easing of coronavirus induced lockdown in the country.
Just like most countries in the world, the United Kingdom stopped mass gathering in the country in March in order to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus pandemic. Hence, football fans have not been allowed to gather anywhere in public for the past four months.
Since April, the country began to ease restrictions which led to major sports events like the Premier League to return behind closed doors. The maximum number of people that are allowed in the stadiums during Premier League matches are 300, including players, technical crews, security personnel, Premier League officials and journalists.
While announcing that things may soon return to how it used to be, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We will pilot larger gatherings in venues such as sports stadia with a view to a wider reopening in the autumn. All of these measures, for August 1, should be done in a COVID-secure way.
“From October we intend to bring back audiences in stadia and allow conferences and other business events to recommence, again these changes must be done in a COVID-secure way subject to the successful outcome of pilots.”
Reopening of stadiums: I think we have to be patient, Mikel Arteta says
Meanwhile, the manager of Arsenal football club, Mikel Arteta, has advised the government to reconsider the plan to reopen stadiums, adding that there should be a safe environment before people are allowed into stadiums.
“Obviously things are evolving differently in different countries,” Arteta said. “I think we have to be patient.
“We are all desperate to have our people back in the stadiums and make football what it is again. But obviously, we have to create a safe environment for people to join and my opinion is that it would be gradual. The sooner the better, but let’s be careful.”