Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed yesterday that proposals to continue piloting large attendances at events like conferences and sporting matches will no longer go ahead.
In his address to the nation, and a statement to the House of Commons earlier on Tuesday, confirmed that the COVID-19 alert level had been raised to 4 – meaning the virus’ transmission was “high or rising exponentially” – and that plans to allow sports fans to return from 1 October would now no longer go ahead.
Earlier in the month, the Conservative leader confirmed at a news conference that the 1 October target was to be reviewed, but pilots – including in the English Football League – were permitted with consultation with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and a cap on capacity of 1,000.
Representatives from sporting governing bodies were told by DCMS on Tuesday to have a winter with no spectators, in line with the fact that the Prime Minister mentioned in his statement to MPs that the measures should be expected to last “six months“.
England’s Premiership Rugby Chief Darren Childs said in a statement:
The announcement that supporters will not be allowed into stadiums for up to six months cuts off crucial revenue for the Premiership Rugby clubs who have already suffered significant financial losses from suspending the season and playing matches behind closed doors since March.
We believe the lack of supporters in our grounds could cause irreparable damage to our clubs and the communities they serve so must find a way forward to avoid this.
It is now believed that the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, and Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, are working with the industry to “urgently [work on]what we can do now to support [sports clubs]“.
The news comes as the UK reported 4,926 positive cases of the Coronavirus on Tuesday, the highest daily figure since 7 May – when the country was still in full lockdown.