Premier League to go full house with riders


Safety protocols for start of Premier League Image: Premier League

The Premier League (UK) and its clubs are looking forward to having packed houses again and the league is of the view that it is vital that everyone works together to make matchdays safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Delta variant of which is throttling the United Kingdom.

The ‘Premier League’ stated that the safety of everyone involved remains their top priority. This means that while Premier League grounds will be full, the experience will be a little different to pre-pandemic matchdays.

The Premier League, often referred to as the English Premier League or the EPL, is the top level of the English football league system. Contested by 20 clubs, it operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the English Football League. Seasons run from August to May with each team playing 38 matches.

The 2021-2022 Premier League will be the 30th season of the Premier League, the top English professional league for association football clubs since its establishment in 1992. This will be the third season to use the video assistant referee review system. It will be the second season to have a February winter break. It will start on August 14th, 2021 and will end on May 22nd, 2022.

The Premier League has made it clear that COVID-appropriate behavior will have to be followed to a‘t’ by fans as “we do not want anyone to catch COVID-19 at a Premier League ground, or for our matches to contribute to the spread of the virus”.

The Premier League has created matchday protocols in order to help keep everybody safe.

The ‘Premier League’ further stated that this includes working towards COVID-19 status certification should it become mandatory and requiring fans to comply with a Code of Conduct that will encourage good health behaviors in grounds.

Leaving nothing to chance

Fans should not attend Premier League matches if there is any risk they can pass on the fatal virus.

From the start of the 2021-2022 campaign, match-going fans should be prepared to show they have been fully vaccinated or have received a negative lateral flow test in the previous 48 hours.

Fans will be able to do this by obtaining their National Health Service (NHS) COVID passes through the NHS app or website link.

Supporters should consult their club’s website for information regarding junior fans attending fixtures.

Lateral flow tests are available free from local NHS providers and some pharmacies.

Fans’ matchday routine is going to be a bit different to normal and the Premier League is working with clubs to introduce COVID-19 status checks in a staged way so there is the least disruption and maximum safety possible.

This will involve training for stewards and clear guidance for fans before, during and after matches.

Initially, in the first few matchdays of the season, supporters can expect the introduction of random spot-checks for ticket holders at some grounds as the Premier League establish the required processes so clubs and fans are prepared for all match attendees to have their COVID-19 status checked upon arrival, should it become mandatory.

The Premier League and its clubs will continue to follow the latest Government guidance regarding all COVID-19 safety protocols.

Keeping COVID risk at bay

Ticket-holders must comply with the Supporter Code of Conduct to help keep their fellow fans safe.

By taking steps including wearing masks in indoor areas, avoiding close contact with people he or she does not know and by following one-way signage around stadiums every fan can help those around them feel safe while supporting their team.

Working together

Even though the United Kingdom is reopening, the Government has made it clear that this pandemic is still far from over.

It is possible the safety measures for matches could be subject to change at short notice. Fans should continue to follow the latest public health guidance and guidance from their club.

However, even in these uncertain times the Premier League is optimistic that by continuing to work together with fans, supporter groups, football stakeholders, national Government and local authorities, everyone can enjoy full and vibrant stadiums while staying safe from COVID-19.

The Premier League has said it will continue consulting with all key stakeholders, including the Football Supporters’ Association, and will be running a series of fan-engagement campaigns to help all ticket-holders ensure they are match-ready.

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