England considering proof of vaccine, negative test for fans to return

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LONDON (AP) England is considering the introduction of COVID-19 certificates as a way of getting fans back into large sports events, including the Premier League, in significant numbers as pandemic restrictions are eased.

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The government is exploring asking supporters to provide proof they have been vaccinated or have tested negative, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said Friday.

“From June 21, if all goes to plan … we hope to get people back in significant numbers,” Dowden told Sky News. “We’re piloting the different things that will enable that to happen. Clearly it will have to be done in a COVID-secure way.”

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One of the pilot events is due to be the FA Cup final on May 15, with the government hoping for more than 10,000 fans at the Wembley Stadium game after they have been tested or vaccinated.

The government already has plans to relax COVID-19 curbs from May 17 to allow up to 10,000 fans at Premier League stadiums, but with social distancing. June 21 is the final stage on a road map to remove most restrictions, paving the way to a return to full stadiums for the first time since March 2020.