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Premier League fans' stadium returns setback as pilot sport events are cancelled

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Football fans appear to have suffered a setback in their hope of returning to matches from October.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed earlier this month that spectators could be able to return to stadiums in England from October.

Some sports, including football and cricket, have already resumed behind closed doors after the Covid-19 lockdown.

And the PM confirmed earlier this month that a number of test events will take place from August 1 but any stadium reopenings would be subject to coronavirus guidelines.

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"We will pilot larger gatherings in venues like sports stadiums with a view to a wider reopening in the autumn," Johnson said on July 17.

"From October, we intend to bring back audiences in stadiums.

"Again, these changes must be done in a Covid-secure way, subject to the successful outcome of pilots."

However, the PM has today confirmed that the three test events scheduled to take place over the coming days have all been cancelled due to an increasing number of coronavirus cases.

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“We can’t just ignore this evidence,” Johnson said. “We have to act rapidly in order to protect those we love, and we know measures such as these work.

“We’re postponing those changes for at least a fortnight.”

Before adding: “Pilots of larger crowds in sports venues and conference centres will not take place.”

While in a separate statement the PM said: “Very disappointing news that with rise in infection rates we cannot press ahead with sports pilots with fans this weekend.

“I know the huge efforts cricket, snooker & horseracing have made to welcome fans back

“We’ll keep working together on their safe return asap.”

Glorious Goodwood was due to welcome 4,000 racegoers to the Chichester racecourse this weekend.

While 2,500 fans were due to be allowed into cricket matches at The Oval and Edgbaston for Surrey vs Middlesex and Warwickshire vs Northamptonshire respectively.

And the Crucible was expecting up to 300 fans at each session as the Snooker World Championship got underway today.


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