The Prime Minister is reportedly finalising plans with football bosses over the introduction of Covid passports for supporters. Fans would have to prove they are fully vaccinated for coronavirus to gain entry to football grounds, according to the Daily Mirror. The requirement would apply to all 92 professional clubs in England and could prove fatal for smaller teams at the lower end of the football pyramid.
The Covid pandemic has had a profound effect on the finances of all clubs, as teams have been forced to play games behind closed doors throughout the health crisis.
Many had been counting on the return of supporters to provide much needed income, as they seek to claw back some of their financial losses.
However, once again clubs face more uncertainty, as the Government’s proposed plans may prevent thousands of supporters from attending matches.
The Mirror has calculated that as many as 210,000 supporters may be barred from Premier League games each week, if vaccine passports are introduced.
They suggest this figure could be much higher when taking into account lower divisions.
Government sources have confirmed talks are taking place between senior officials at the Department of Health, the Department of Culture Media and Sport and Premier League.
The plans have been attacked by Labour, who accused the Prime Minister of creating further confusion through his constant “chopping and changing”.
Industry bosses have written to the Health Secretary Sajid Javid, warning him that introducing vaccine passports without “a proper and adequate consultation process” is “highly likely to be unlawful”.
They argue the plans could have “a discriminatory effect on grounds of race”, and risk encouraging illegal raves that lack safety arrangements.
The letter was written by Hugh Osmond, founder of Punch Taverns and director of Various Eateries, and signed by Michael Kill, Peter Marks and Stephen Thomas, who head the Night Time Industries Association, REKOM UK and The Jam House, respectively.