U-turn means clinically extremely vulnerable fans can be at pilot sports events

Jamie Gardner, PA Chief Sports Reporter
·2-min read

Guidance which effectively banned clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) people from attending events piloting the safe return of spectators from venues has been reversed.

CEV people, or those living with them, were previously excluded from the pilots on public health grounds.

SpursAbility, the Tottenham disabled supporters’ group, described it as “direct discrimination” when ticketing details for last Sunday’s Carabao Cup final were confirmed earlier this month.

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That match was the first outdoor sports event to allow in spectators from the teams involved.

Disability equality charity Scope has welcomed the update within the Government’s Events Research Programme (ERP) guidelines, which still strongly urges caution for CEV people attending, but says they should not be excluded from involvement.

Its executive director of strategy, impact and social change James Taylor said: “It’s good news that the Government has seen sense, and changed its approach to the inclusion of disabled people at its pilot mass events.

“The decision to effectively ‘ban’ disabled people from attending these events was called out by Scope and others as unlawful. We hope event organisers will now follow this updated guidance and make sure nobody is unfairly excluded.

Leicester City v Chelsea – Premier League – King Power Stadium
CEV fans could be at the FA Cup final when Chelsea face Leicester following the reversal of official guidance (Michael Regan/PA)

“Disabled people have been forgotten by government time and time again throughout the pandemic. As we move out of lockdown, disabled people must be included in plans so we don’t end up with a two-tier society.”

The FA Cup final between Chelsea and Leicester on May 15 is set to welcome 21,000 fans to Wembley.

In the ERP information section titled ‘Attendance of high risk groups’ it now states: “Our Science Board has reviewed the Events Research Programme’s approach to clinically extremely vulnerable individuals attending the pilot events.

“They strongly urge caution for the clinically extremely vulnerable attending the events on public health grounds, however these groups are not excluded from involvement in the pilots.”

The purpose of the ERP is to identify ways in which spectators can return to venues at financially viable levels from June 21, when the country is due to move onto step four of the coronavirus road map first published in February.