Government may insist football fans, including Sheffield United supporters, use Covid passports to get back into grounds next season
Sheffield United fans hoping to return to Bramall Lane next season after 18 months away may be asked to use a so-called Covid-19 passport in order to do so, under guidance from the government set to be issued to football clubs.
Covid-19 laws are set to be removed from Monday – the so-called Freedom Day in the UK – but with cases of coronavirus rising by the day, prime minister Boris Johnson will urge venues expecting large crowds to adopt Covid certification – either proof of two doses of the vaccine, or a negative test.
Such measures have been used in sporting test events, including Wimbledon and the recent European Championship games at Wembley, but further measures including staggered kick-off times may be implemented in an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus when the new season starts, and grounds return to full capacity.
No confirmation has yet been received about such logistical details ahead the start of the season – which is three weeks tomorrow, at home to Birmingham City – but a government source told The Telegraph that they are going to “strongly encourage” sports to use so-called Covid passports, adding that it may prevent stadia being ordered to reduce capacity again if nationwide restrictions return.
In a survey conducted by The Star earlier this summer, over two thirds of United fans would be willing to wear a face mask, observe social distancing regulations and sign up for a so-called ‘vaccine passport’ if it meant they were allowed back into Bramall Lane to watch their side next season.
When asked if they would be willing to sign up for a passport if it meant returning to Bramall Lane quicker, 67.7 per cent of fans said ‘yes’. A further 11.9 per cent said maybe, with only 20.4 per cent saying no.
But the poll was conducted early last month, when the country was still under Covid-19 restrictions, and attitudes may well change once Freedom Day has come and gone next Monday.
United have not played in front of a full Bramall Lane since last March, when they beat Norwich 1-0 to continue their push for a place in Europe.