The UK will test the return of fans to sporting events

LONDON (Reuters) – Fans can return to sporting events in Britain from October 1 with social distancing restrictions, the British government said on Friday, as it announced a pilot plan set to begin later this month.

Snooker, horse racing and cricket will initially be used from late July to early August to test new government guidelines on returning to some form of normal sporting life.

Elite sport in Britain returned without fans last month after a three-month hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The trial events, announced by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), will be the rescheduled World Snooker Championship in Sheffield, the Goodwood Horseracing Festival and two cricket friendlies.

It will then move to a limited return of fans from 1 October, if deemed safe.

DCMS said in a statement that the events were carefully selected to represent a range of sports and indoor and outdoor environments.

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “For months, millions of us have felt the emptiness of not being able to go support our team or attend a top-class sporting event.

“I am pleased that we can now move forward with a plan to help venues reopen their doors to fans safely (…) Not all sports, teams or clubs benefit from significant commercial revenues, and it is often their dedicated following that sustains them,” he added.

(Reporting by Martin Herman; Edited in Spanish by Daniela DeSantis)

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