Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has confirmed that the final four Euro 2020 matches at Wembley and Wimbledon will be staged at 50 per cent capacity, despite coronavirus restrictions being extended until July 19.
The last-16 match of Euro 2020 on June 29, along with the semi-finals and final in July being hosted at Wembley will be staged at 50 per cent capacity, meaning around 40,000 fans will be in attendance.
Wimbledon, which begins on June 28 for a fortnight, will be operating at 50 per cent capacity, rising to 100 per cent – around 15,000 spectators – on Centre Court for the men’s and women’s finals on July 10 and 11.
“Full details of capacity limits for each specific event will be set out in due course,” a statement from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said.
Formula One’s British Grand Prix over the weekend of July 16-18 is also understood to be under consideration for test event status.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the postponement of step four of the government’s roadmap, which was due to take place on Monday June 21, will allow for more people to receive their second vaccine before further easing of restrictions takes place.
The proposed extension will be reviewed to see if action can be taken two weeks sooner on Monday July 5.
Culture Secretary Dowden confirmed on Monday evening that the next phase of the Events Research Programme will include “up to 20 events that will allow audience numbers to return close to full capacity”.
The R&A released a statement shortly after Johnson made the announcement, reassuring fans that it will be able to confirm arrangements for The Open – which is being held at Royal St George’s from 11-18 July – “in the next few days” as it continues to hold talks with the government and public health authorities.
For those events which are not part of the ERP, the rules will remain as they have since May 17, and stay in place until July 19 at the earliest.
For outdoor venues with a seated capacity of 16,000 or above, the limit is 10,000 or 25 per cent of capacity, whichever is lowest.
For outdoor venues with less seating than that, the limit is 4,000 or 50 per cent of capacity, whichever is lowest. For indoor venues, the limit is 1,000 or 50 per cent capacity, whichever is lowest.
That will place further pressure on matchday revenue for many sports clubs and governing bodies, an income stream which has been virtually non-existent during the coronavirus pandemic and something the government has recognised in its winter and summer sport survival packages.
While the step three restrictions rely purely on social distancing, test events are set to continue to look at other mitigations.
The Euro 2020 group games, for instance, require ticket holders to provide proof of full vaccination or a recent negative Covid-19 test result.
A number of sporting bodies have supported the idea of some form of Covid certification for entry to events, with Premier League executive director Bill Bush describing it in the past as an “acceptable burden” and saying that the alternative would be tiny crowds and a ban on away fans.
Its chief executive Richard Masters hopes the 2021-22 Premier League season will kick off in front of full capacity venues in mid-August.