The Premier League say they want stadiums packed with fans “as soon as possible” after a successful trial saw 2,500 attend a Brighton vs Chelsea friendly.
In the words of the Premier league CEO, Richard Masters “The Premier League is very pleased to be involved in the Sport Tech Innovation Group,We know, through the success of delivering Project Restart last season, that Premier League clubs can provide safe environments and we are looking forward to welcoming back supporters to all our grounds as quickly as possible.”
Brighton’s 30,000-capacity Amex Stadium held 2,500 supporters on Saturday in their 1-1 friendly draw with Chelsea, the first Premier League ground to host fans since football was halted by the coronavirus back in March. The stadium had socially distanced seating and those in attendance had temperature checks and wore masks entering or moving around the stadium.
Some of the innovative ideas mooted to get stadiums full again include using tracking devices to ensure fans socially distance from one another and fluorescent disinfectants to show how often surfaces are touched. Health passports linked to smartphones could also be used to ensure tickets are sold only to fans who have tested negative for Covid-19 in a certain timeframe.
Next for the Premier League is involvement in a new Sport Tech Innovation Group, set up by the UK government, which is tasked with finding ways that technology can help get more supporters back inside stadia.
Premier League clubs’ ability to handle safety protocols and not see further outbreaks of coronavirus within their bubbles gives optimism that larger scale gatherings will be similarly well-managed. The current guidance is that October is the date for fans to get back into grounds in the top flight.