Premier League announces new Covid entry requirements for fans attending matches

Credit: PA

There will be Covid status checks at every Premier League ground, with fans urged not to travel if displaying any coronavirus symptoms under new rules coming into effect from Wednesday.

Fans will have to show their NHS Covid pass or a negative NHS coronavirus test done within the last 48 hours to attend games, with those unable to demonstrate their status risking being denied entry.

All those aged 18 and over attending Premier League matches must complete a coronavirus status self-declaration via their club’s website ahead of matchday.

The government has made the NHS Covid pass mandatory at sporting events with crowds of more than 10,000 people in England.

This is in large part because of the spread of the Omicron variant, which presents "probably the most significant threat" of the pandemic so far, according to Dr Jenny Harries, the head of the UK Health Security Agency.

Stadiums have been free to operate at full capacity since final Covid restrictions were lifted in July, with fans having been able to attend games without face coverings or having their vaccine status checked this season.

But now supporters must wear face coverings while in indoor stadium areas and when travelling to matches on public transport, the Premier League said in a statement on Wednesday.

The new rules- which come as the highly transmissible Omicron variant becomes the dominant strain of coronavirus in the UK- will affect all 17 Premier League games scheduled between December 15 to December 19.

Newcastle United fans ahead of the Premier League match at the King Power Stadium, Leicester. Credit: PA

The league announced on Monday there had been 42 positive Covid tests among Premier League players and staff last week – the most it had recorded in any previous seven-day period.

Tottenham, Leicester, Manchester United, Aston Villa and Norwich are among the clubs which have had confirmed cases, with two top flight matches – Tottenham v Brighton and Brentford v Manchester United – being postponed over Covid cases this week.

In order to limit the spread of the virus and prevent further outbreaks, the Premier League warned fans that they "must not attend matches" if they have "any Covid-type symptoms" or a risk of passing on the illness.

"We are doing all we can to keep fans safe and grounds open at full capacity," Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said.

"We want everyone to enjoy matches in safe environments and we and our clubs will continue to urge fans to do all they can and follow public health guidance."

Covid passports have come into effect across England after MPs backed the government's plans to introduce them from Wednesday as part of its Plan B coronavirus restrictions, despite the prime minister suffering a huge Tory rebellion.

On Tuesday, the UK recorded its highest number of daily Covid cases- 59,610- since January 9, with an estimated 200,000 daily Omicron infections the previous day.

With the football season about to enter the busy festive programme, clubs are desperate to avoid a raft of postponements which would create a backlog later in the campaign.

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