Non-League clubs and competitions are taking in unwelcome news that plans for fans to attend pilot sporting events this weekend have been postponed after a spike in coronavirus cases.
Limited number of spectators were due to watch two county cricket matches, the World Snooker Championships and racing at Goodwood before Friday lunnchtime’s announcement by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“Pilots of larger crowds at sports venues will not take place,” Johnson said at a Downing Street news conference.
“I said from May we would not hesitate to put on the brakes at the slightest sign that the numbers were going in the wrong direction.”
— The Non-League Paper (@NonLeaguePaper) July 31, 2020
The new restrictions on fans will be enforced until at least 15 August as Non-League prepares for a September start to the new season after this weekend’s National League play-offs finally conclude the 2019/20 season.
The blow comes just a week after the start of limited entry pilot events to prepare the way for the return of football and the PM saying spectators could be able to return to stadiums in England from October earlier this month.
Plans to reopen casinos, bowling alleys and other indoor events on 1 August were also shelved by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport as people were asked to observe newly reimposed lockdown measures in the north of England.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden called the blow “very disappointing news” in a post on social media. “I know the huge efforts cricket, snooker & horseracing have made to welcome fans back. We’ll keep working together on their safe return ASAP,” he added.
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Images courtesy of The Non-League Paper