Sport and fans are on the way back in PM's roadmap

Organised team sports can resume at the end of March while fans should be back in stadia in May

By Jon Dunham
Tuesday, 23rd February 2021, 7:47 am
Updated Tuesday, 23rd February 2021, 7:50 am
Fans could be back in the County Ground for the Northamptonshire Steelbacks' Vitality Blast campaign this year
Fans could be back in the County Ground for the Northamptonshire Steelbacks' Vitality Blast campaign this year

Sport is coming back and fans will soon be back in grounds after the Prime Minister set out the country’s ‘roadmap’ out of Covid-19 lockdown this week.

Organised outdoor sports for adults and under-18s will be restarting from Monday, March 29 including football and rugby while it has raised hopes for a full local cricket season with the Northamptonshire Cricket League set to begin at the end of April.

And then, from April 12, indoor leisure facilities including gyms and swimming pools will be open for use individually or within household groups.

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Youngsters will also be able to attend any indoor children's activity, including sport, regardless of circumstance. Parent and child groups of up to 15 people (not counting children aged under five years old) can restart indoors.

The final stage as far as sport is concerned comes from Monday, May 17 when adult indoor group sports and exercise classes are allowed.

But also from that date, sports events indoors will be allowed up to 1,000 people watching, or 50 per cent of a venue's capacity, whichever is lower, while outdoor events will have a capacity of either 50 per cent or 4,000 people, whichever is lower.

There will be a special provision for large, outdoor, seated venues where crowds can be safely distributed, allowing up to 10,000 people or 25 per cent of total seated capacity, whichever is lower.

On a local scale, it means fans should be able to attend the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on July 18 while, as it stands, Northampton Saints will be allowed 4,000 spectators at their matches against Wasps and Exeter at Franklin’s Gardens on May 29 and June 5 respectively.

As far as Northamptonshire CCC are concerned, they will have to play their first three LV= County Championship matches behind closed doors, but should be allowed fans in for the May 20 clash with Lancashire.

More importantly for the cricket club though, the news means they should be able to fill their County Ground home to half capacity for their Vitality T20 Blast campaign, which starts with a home date against Worcestershire Rapids on Friday, June 11.

As far as national and international events go, that could mean the FA Cup final, which is planned to be staged at Wembley on May 15, will be played behind closed doors, but fans may be able to attend the conclusion of the Premier League, which is set to finish over the weekend of May 22.

The delayed Euro 2020 competition begins on June 11, with Wembley set to host seven matches, including the final on 11 July.

Wimbledon, which was cancelled in 2020 for the first time since the Second World War, is scheduled for June 28 to July 11.