Limited fans for Australia-India Test match


Sydney Cricket Ground with only 25 per cent capacity Image: SCGT

Though Sydney (Australia) has registered a rise in coronavirus infections, Australia’s upcoming Test match against India will be on course as originally planned at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). The venue will operate at 25 percent of its usual capacity amid a rise in COVID-19 cases in the City. The new coronavirus strain is causing havoc and has sent many countries in Europe into lockdown again.

The Australia vs. India Test match will be held from January 7th-11th, 2021, with limited in-person attendance.

The Sydney Cricket Ground is a sports stadium in Sydney, Australia. It is used for Test, One Day International and Twenty20 cricket, as well as Australian rules football, rugby league football, rugby union, and association football.

Cricket Australia confirmed last week that the New Year’s Test would remain in Sydney. The stadium had originally been due to operate at 50 percent of its 48,000 capacity but this has now been further reduced.

The Test is due to get underway on Thursday and all members of both teams, along with the support staff and match officials, have tested negative for COVID-19.

The decision to keep the New Year’s Test at its traditional venue was made following discussions over the impact of the recent COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney.

Nick Hockley, Cricket Australia’s interim Chief Executive, said that the decision was made following health advice from the New South Wales Government, and following collaboration with Governments in New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland, where the fourth and final Test is due to be held.

The 25 percent attendance cap was announced on January 4th following further advice from the NSW Government, Cricket Australia and Venues NSW, with the safety of fans being accorded top priority. As a result, a revised socially distanced seating plan has been drawn up, with the match to be reticketed.

All fans who purchased tickets for the match will receive a full refund.

Stated Hockley, “In response to the public health situation in NSW, we are working closely with Venues NSW and NSW Health to put appropriate biosecurity measures in place for our staff, players, match officials, broadcasters and fans to ensure we play the third Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground safely.”

Venues NSW is the owner, coordinator and promoter of a portfolio of publicly-owned sports and entertainment venues in New South Wales.

Added Hockley, “Reducing the capacity of the venue is crucial in achieving social distancing requirements, and we sincerely thank ticket holders for their patience, as we process refunds today, reconfigure the Sydney Cricket Ground seating plan to deliver these social distancing measures and go back on sale.”

Venues NSW Chair Tony Shepherd remarked, “There are extensive protocols being enacted for the upcoming Test, including increased cleaning, customer service and security staff, along with dedicated social distancing marshals. The Sydney Cricket Ground is registered as a COVID-Safe business with the NSW Government which allows exhaustive record keeping and QR code check-in protocols that will ensure the safety of our fans. We have a very safe stadium and will be doing everything we can to deliver this event safely, as we have at our venues in NSW for the entire year.”

The first two Tests of the Australia-India series were held at the Adelaide Oval (a sports ground in Adelaide, South Australia), and the Melbourne Cricket Ground. After the third Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground, the fourth and final Test will be held at the Gabba in Brisbane.

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