(Reuters) - The England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) will look at the possibility of using COVID-19 passports to allow fans to return to stadiums for the upcoming domestic season, the governing body's managing director of county cricket Neil Snowball said.
The new County Championship season will begin on April 8 with games initially being played without spectators.
May 17 has been pencilled in as the date when the largest outdoor seated venues can allow up to 10,000 people or a quarter of capacity, whichever is lower, under the third stage of the government's "roadmap" for easing COVID-19 restrictions.
"We have gone from no passports to suddenly now looking at a COVID certification," Snowball said. "We will explore anything that enables us to get our members back and our spectators back."
With the start of the fourth stage of the roadmap set for June 21, Snowball said cricket would have to balance three areas.
"One, if there is going to be some sort of passport or COVID certification, second is testing, third is some sort of social distancing.
"We have said we will do whatever we are asked to do to make sure we can get the maximum number of people back. The ideal would be some sort of certification with an element of social distancing and probably wearing masks."
Snowball also said the domestic game was projecting losses in excess of 100 million pounds ($137.22 million) by the end of April due to the impact of the pandemic.
"Clubs with larger diverse revenue streams have been hit much harder," he added. "If we end up playing another whole season behind closed doors that will be extremely challenging for the counties."
($1 = 0.7288 pounds)
(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru;Editing by Peter Rutherford)