The Wimbledon women’s and men’s finals will be played in front of a capacity Centre Court crowd, while around 40,000 fans will be at Wembley for the Euro 2020 final despite the lifting of England’s remaining coronavirus restrictions being delayed.
Here, the PA news agency charts the steps forwards and backwards on fans being allowed at sports events since the pandemic struck the UK last year.
Elite sport is forced into suspension during the first national lockdown, and only emerges behind closed doors from the start of June.
July 17, 2020
The Government announces that spectators will return to trial events over the summer, with a view to a wider, socially distanced reopening of venues from October 1.
July 26, 2020
July 31, 2020
Fans attend day one of the World Snooker Championship but Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the remainder of the event, along with the final day of Glorious Goodwood, must now take place behind closed doors due to a spike in cases.
August 13, 2020
The Government announces pilot events to test the safe return of spectators could resume from Saturday, August 15 – including the World Snooker final.
August 26, 2020
September 9, 2020
Spectators attend the St Leger Festival at Doncaster, the first race meeting with crowds since March. However, the course announces the rest of the meeting will be behind closed doors. A rise in infections not seen since the first lockdown forces the Government to limit attendances at pilot events to 1,000 spectators, or to revert to no crowds at all in areas where infection levels are especially high.
September 22, 2020
October 31, 2020
The country enters a second national lockdown, but elite sport is allowed to continue.
November 23, 2020
The Prime Minister announces that venues in tiers one and two of the Government’s new regional system to tackle infections will be able to open on a limited capacity basis from December 2.
December 2, 2020
EFL matches at Wycombe, Luton, Charlton, Shrewsbury, Carlisle and Cambridge go ahead with spectators in attendance, the first to do so since a series of pilot events in September. Race meetings at Ludlow, Lingfield, Kempton and Haydock also welcome spectators in.
December 30, 2020
February 22, 2021
The Government announces its coronavirus recovery ‘road map’ with the country having been in a third lockdown since January 4. It sets out the intention for up to 10,000 spectators to return to venues from May 17, provided the data at the time supports the easing of restrictions. The Government says it will run an Events Research Programme (ERP) in the spring with a view to looking at measures which will allow crowds to return to venues in more significant numbers from June 21.
March 13, 2021
The first ERP pilot events are confirmed – the FA Cup final in May and the World Snooker Championship starting in April.
April 17, 2021
The World Snooker Championship becomes the first sports event to welcome back spectators.
April 25, 2021
May 2, 2021
The first day of the World Snooker Championship final is the first sports event to be played at full capacity since the start of the pandemic.
May 10, 2021
June 14, 2021
Despite an announcement from Boris Johnson that the lifting of England’s remaining coronavirus restrictions will be delayed by up to four weeks, the Government confirms plans for up to 20 pilot events across sport and entertainment, with Wimbledon and football’s European Championship the big winners. Wembley will play host to the largest sporting crowd in the UK in more than 15 months, with roughly 40,000 fans in attendance for the final four Euro 2020 fixtures at the stadium – including the semis and final. Meanwhile, the Wimbledon women’s final on July 10 and men’s final on July 11 will be contested in front of a full Centre Court in SW19, with the tournament beginning with 50 per cent ground capacity.