England’s freedom day could pave the way for full crowds at sporting events

·2-min read

England’s so-called freedom day could pave the way for full crowds at sporting events.

The Government removed Covid-19 social distancing restrictions on Monday, opening up the opportunity for crowds to flock back to major sports occasions.

The Premier League and the English Football League will continue to weigh up whether to press ahead with allowing full crowds back into stadia for the start of the new season next month.

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Liverpool announced on Monday they would play two pre-season friendlies next month at a 75-per-cent-full Anfield.

The Reds will take on Athletic Bilbao on Sunday, August 8 and play another LaLiga side Osasuna the following day.

The club said in a statement it was “working closely with city partners Liverpool City Council, Merseyside Police and Spirit of Shankly to prioritise the safety of supporters, staff, players and the local community”.

It added: “LFC will also continue to work with football’s governing bodies to adhere to their current guidelines and advice regarding any safety restrictions.”

England v Pakistan – Second Vitality IT20 – Emerald Headingley
Fans will be out in force as England face India in the Test series (Zac Goodwin/PA)

England’s five-Test cricket series against India could host capacity crowds, with racing’s Glorious Goodwood festival another major event in line to benefit.

The Women’s Open at Carnoustie and cricket’s new tournament The Hundred could see bolstered attendance too.

But top sporting executives will doubtless take a watching brief in the coming days before plotting the way forward when it comes to crowd size.

Premier League bosses will continue to consider the use of Covid certification for fans to gain entry to stadiums, despite the Government having no plans to enforce such measures.

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton won the British Grand Prix in front of a packed house at Silverstone (Bradley Collyer/PA)

“As we move towards a Government decision on Step 4 of the roadmap and beyond, we will continue to work with football stakeholders and relevant public authorities to ensure that the return to full capacity is done in a way that keeps everyone safe,” read a Premier League statement on July 5.

Lewis Hamilton stole British Grand Prix glory in front of a packed Silverstone on Sunday, with the Towcester track hosting the largest UK crowd since the pandemic began.

Some 140,000 motor racing fans crammed into Silverstone, in a watershed moment top sports bosses hope will not cause any negative ripples.

Wimbledon had full houses for the men’s and women’s finals in SW19, while Wembley’s Euro 2020 final yielded a host of controversy and chaos.

The 66,000 fans who were part of a pilot scheme were forced to battle against scores of ticketless people who forced their way into the north London ground.

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