United Kingdom

England's Euro 2020 games will still go ahead in front of fans at Wembley

Pilot schemes aimed at getting big crowds safely back to large cultural events like football matches will continue despite the four-week lockdown delay. 

Mr Johnson tonight confirmed that the programme that has seen spectators return to grounds for Euro 2020 football matches and England cricket test matches will be unaffected by the slowdown.

Downing Street said up to a dozen events will take place in the four weeks to July 19, with a full list to be announced in coming days.

More than 22,000 people were at Wembley to see England beat Croatia 1-0 yesterday, roaring on the Three Lions under rules that allow the stadium to operate at a quarter capacity. 

Mr Johnson tonight confirmed that the programme that has seen spectators return to grounds for Euro 2020 football matches and England cricket test matches will be unaffected by the slowdown.

More than 22,000 people were at Wembley to see England beat Croatia 1-0 yesterday,

They roared on the Three Lions under rules that allow the stadium to operate at a quarter capacity as part of a pilot scheme

Unmasked cricket fans stand in Edgbaston Stadium in Birmingham at another 'pilot event' allowed by the Government

A general view of the Hollies stand as the spectators fill the stand during day one of the second Test Match between England and New Zealand at Edgbaston

It follows astonishing scenes at the second England v New Zealand test match at Edgebaston, which ended on Saturday.

Though Downing Street is making plans to keep severe social distancing restrictions in place after June 21, it allowed the Birmingham stadium to operate at 70 per cent capacity - meaning 18,000 spectators watched England's dismal eight-wicket defeat.

Currently, no event can have more than 25 per cent stadium capacity, up to a maximum of 10,000 people, as part of step three in the government's roadmap out of lockdown.

Step four could take place as soon as June 21 when all social distancing may be lifted, provided the spread of the virus remains under control and the vaccination programme continues to roll out. 

The first phase of pilot events relied upon testing attendees to ensure they did not have the virus, as well as social distancing once inside.

But sport has been clear that social distancing is not a viable option to support the return of fans in large numbers and the next phase of events are designed to test much greater capacities with additional safeguards.

The events include 12,000 spectators attending Royal Ascot each day from June 15-19 and 22,000 fans at Wembley for England's Euro 2020 group games against Croatia on June 13 and Scotland on June 18. Some of them are expected to include testing covid passports, which will confirm if a person is vaccinated against coronavirus or received a negative test.

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