ECB urges government in an open letter for COVID certificates to ensure “great sporting summer” with full grounds

According to a press release by the England and Wales Cricket Board, they have urged the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to introduce Covid certificates to facilitate the grounds to bring back 100 percent capacity this summer.

ECB, along with nine other major Governing Bodies as well as venues have written an open letter to prime minister Boris Johnson to appeal for action in the wake of all restrictions being uplifted from June 21.

As per the government roadmap, all restrictions will be uplifted in the UK from June 21 which theoretically means that venues could be full.

Presently, matches in England are held behind closed doors. However from May 17, attendances will be allowed upto 25 per cent until a full lifting of restrictions in the month of june with social distancing measures remaining in place.

In an open letter addressed to Mr Johnson, Labour leader Keir Starmer, the Labour leader Ian Blackford from the Scottish National Party', the Liberal Democrat Ed Davey and Liz Saville-Roberts of Plaid Cymru, from 10 of the premiere sports governing organizations and venues insist only a certification process can guarantee the safe return of audiences when the regulations allow. 

The ECB along with the Premier League, Wimbledon, Rugby, The Football Association, Lawn Tennis Association, Football Union, Rugby Football League, English Football League, Scottish Professional Football League and Silverstone Circuit, have put their names in the open letter that calls for immediate action.

The letter asks the government to take quick action towards developing the system, which would have fans produce a negative Corona test or an antibody test alongside a certification of vaccination inorder to gain entry to an event, "to deliver the great sporting summer the whole nation craves".

The Governing bodies are demanding for clarity as soon as possible so that they can effectively plan a busy period of elite sport ahead.

As part of the Events Research Programme (ERP), a series of upcoming events will be used as a trial for the return of fans to venues. It will include the World Snooker Championships at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre, the Carabao Cup and FA Cup finals scheduled at the Wembley Stadium along with three mass participation runs to be held at Hatfield House.

The UK Prime Minister has ruled out Covid certificates being part of the third step of reopening from May 17, however the plans thereafter are yet to be confirmed.

"It is important that we have certainty as soon as possible on the form this guidance will take so we can plan efficiently and effectively with many big sporting events scheduled for late June and onwards," the letter stated.

"The return of fans will give a huge boost to millions who enjoy a day out at a sporting event with their friends and families and be of great benefit to the economy. 

"It is right that every possible action is considered to secure this outcome as soon as possible, but only for as long as an unrestricted return is considered unsafe to fans, matchday staff and the wider public.

"This includes investigating how a Covid certification arrangement could reduce and then safely remove the requirement for social distancing.

"There are many issues to be addressed including how the technology would work and its ease of use at major events, for both the attendees and the organisers.

"All of our sports can see the benefit that a Covid certification process offers in getting more fans safely back to their sport as quickly as possible. We know that our stadium can only be fully filled with an assurance process.

The letter further read: "Based on these principles, we support the review of the use of covid certification for major events. Any final decision on their application should follow an assessment of the evidence gathered in the forthcoming ERP trials.

"We look forward to working with the government and all interested parties, including our stakeholders and fans, to deliver the great sporting summer the whole nation craves." 

In the new domestic cricket season in the UK which began on Thursday, counties have been instructed to make economic forecasts based on 50 per cent crowds being possible during the course of the 2021 season.

Fans again gave the beginning of the campaign a miss having been locked out of all international, Bob Willis Trophy and T20 Blast games last year. According to ECB's projection an estimated £200 million has been lost from the game owing to the absence of spectators.


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