England Test match at Edgbaston to have 18,000 fans in government pilot event

Edgbaston stadium will host the first pilot event within the second phase of the government's Events Research Programme. Credit: PA

An England cricket Test match at Edgbaston is one of the next pilot events to test the return of big crowds to sports venues.

The second Test of the men's series in Birmingham against New Zealand, beginning on 10 June at Edgbaston, will be allowed to have more than 18,000 fans each day.

It will be at 70% capacity, whereas under current guidelines smaller outdoor venues are only permitted at 25% capacity.

Edgbaston Cricket ground, the home of the Warwickshire side, will be at 70% capacity when England play New Zealand in June. Credit: PA

Each individual ticket holder must be over 16 and present a negative COVID-19 result from an NHS Rapid Lateral Flow Test. Similarly, it needs to be completed within 24 hours in advance of the day they are attending.

This pilot event will be used to analyse testing protocols for all spectators in attendance. this includes the use of social distancing and face coverings when moving around the stadium. It's hoped it can help gather further evidence on the risk of transmission at mass participation events.

The process was agreed today (26 May) by Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden and supported by Public Health England, the England & Wales Cricket Board, Birmingham City Council and Edgbaston’s Safety Advisory Group.

The CEO at Edgbaston, Stuart Cain, says "whilst the first stage pilots have shown how people can safely start to enjoy the things they love; live sport and music.

"It will be great to welcome cricket fans to Edgbaston and give the England team a huge boost as nothing beats the atmosphere that crowds create here."

Ticket holders will be contacted by Edgbaston with next steps regarding their tickets and the opportunity to claim a refund should they no longer wish to attend. Those with under 16s as part of their booking will be provided with options regarding their tickets.

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