Statement from the Trevor Birch, CEO of the EFL
Return of Fans
On Monday (14th June) the Prime Minister confirmed that England was not yet ready to move to Step 4 of the Government’s roadmap largely due to the impact of the Delta Variant, with a four-week delay until July 19 being the most likely outcome.
Unsurprisingly, this decision has been a great disappointment to our colleagues across the summer sports and other parts of the leisure sector who, like us, are seeking a return to normality at the earliest opportunity.
From a purely EFL perspective, the ambition to get more people vaccinated more quickly can only be helpful in terms of our aim of achieving full grounds next season.
In order to help us achieve this aim, we remain in close and regular dialogue with the Government, principally through DCMS, but also through other relevant bodies such as the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA), the Welsh Government and other major sports bodies. However, at this time, there is still no clarity with regard to the situation we will face in the first week of August.
Nevertheless, we do take some encouragement from the initial findings of the Government’s Events Research Programme (ERP) with the data showing relatively low risks of transmission at outdoor events.
Furthermore, the plans to increase capacity at Wembley to a minimum of 50% for the knockout stages of the Euros, as well as playing the men’s and women’s Wimbledon finals in front of capacity crowds, are certainly steps in the right direction.
The League also continues to engage with the Government in relation to the use of Covid Certification. It remains our view that such an approach could have a very important role to play in helping clubs get more fans into stadiums safely and then keep attendance levels up over the winter months.
It is therefore encouraging that an approach of this kind is in operation at Wembley and will be at a number of other events in the next few weeks that will examine how sports events could be staged once we move to Step 4