Soccer

Premier League: Will vaccine passports be needed for fans?

Goal takes a look at the possibility of proof of vaccination to be introduced for supporters interested in attending matches

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to pose a dangerous threat, with multiple outbreaks of the virus occurring over the summer as well as the spread of the more transmissible Delta variant.

Coronavirus vaccines have arrived, but as distribution continues, the virus continues to rear its ugly head.

So with the Premier League and other European competitions beginning shortly, could attendees be required to be fully vaccinated in order to attend games? Goal takes a look.

Will the Premier League require vaccine passports?

According to reports, fans attending stadiums with capacities over 20,000 could be required to show proof of vaccination in order to be admitted.

The new regulations could potentially begin to be implemented from the end of September, as the government seek to introduce mandatory vaccine passports in October.

No plans for vaccine passports, however, have been set in stone or officially confirmed.

What’s been said?

A government source reported by Sky Sports stated: “It’s important that fans can continue to watch sporting events over the autumn, which is why we’re exploring the role vaccines might play in this.

“This will not only allow full capacity stadiums but has the added bonus of incentivising people of all ages to go and get their jab.”

Some government figures, however, have expressed their scepticism about making vaccine passports mandatory.

Shadow sports secretary Jo Stevens said: “To insist on vaccine passports less than a month before the start of the season will cause major disruptions, especially for clubs at the lower end of the pyramid.

“Labour has been clear that the use of Covid vaccination status alone will exclude those who can’t be vaccinated or haven’t had the jab because of delays.

“Being double jabbed doesn’t prove you aren’t carrying the virus. Testing for access to venues would be more efficient.”

Football Supporters’ Association chairman Malcom Clarke has warned about the potential disruption and ‘chaos’ vaccine passports could cause for supporters.

“I think if they’re going to do this with big football crowds they need to have the resources to do the checks,” Clarke told Times Radio.

“I’m not convinced that all football clubs will be able to manage that in a way that doesn’t cause some chaos.

“There are some specific issues, and that’s why it’s important that at both national level and at club level, supporters’ groups are involved in the consultation.”

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi, however, told the House of Commons that “as a condition of entry” to spectator sport events “people will need to show that they are fully vaccinated and proof of a negative test will not be sufficient”.

Sporting events that already require proof of vaccination

A number of high-profile sporting events already require either a proof of vaccination or negative Covid-19 test.

The British Grand Prix at Silverstone in July held a crowd of 140,000, which was the largest sporting event in the UK since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

All attendees had to provide either proof of full vaccination or a negative test.

The 2021 Community Shield has the same requirements, with attending Manchester City and Leicester supporters needing to submit proof of vaccination or a negative test in order to gain entry.

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