Gary Neville has expressed opposition to football supporters requiring a Covid passport to attend live matches as Premier League and EFL clubs continue talks over vaccination certification ahead of the new season.
Sports post understands that top flight officials were already urgently working on a Covid certification scheme from the first round of competition, which starts on August 13, after the government made it clear that this is the expectation.
Further clarification is now being sought after Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s statement Monday evening that anyone wishing to go to a nightclub from the end of September must prove that they have received two doses of a Covid vaccine.
In addition, the prime minister said “other venues where large crowds gather” could also be made to take the checks, which would likely include sports.
This is a stricter requirement than the current Covid Passport, which has been tested at various sporting events, including Euro 2020, in recent weeks.
The government’s latest move has sparked debate among hospitality chefs, and Sky Sports pundit Neville has spoken out on the subject, opposing the demand for Covid passports for football supporters.
Gary Neville has voiced his opposition to the use of Covid passports at football matches
Premier League clubs are in talks to implement passports at football matches this season
“You shouldn’t need a passport to watch a football game!” he tweeted Thursday morning. ‘Test events have been carried out with great success.’
Test events refer to the pilot events where large crowds have been allowed to attend sports and cultural events to assess the risk of transmission of the coronavirus.
Sporting events such as Euro 2020 and Wimbledon have been used as test events, with 60,000 spectators at Wembley Stadium for the semi-finals and final of the European Championship.
Boris Johnson’s announcement that nightclub revelers will require two Covid shots from September has led clubs to request more clarification on major sporting events
The government is testing the safe return of fans as part of its events research program, which has been running since late March.
The final phase has examined the use of Covid passports, which have been charged to test the return of the capacity rush and very high visitor numbers.
One of the high-profile events was a series of Euro 2020 matches, including the semi-finals and final at Wembley, which could be attended by more than 60,000 people.
Wimbledon’s Center Court was allowed to seat a maximum capacity of 15,000 in the second week of the championships.
A packed house of 30,000 fans gathered at Lord’s for the second One Day International between England and Pakistan.
But the biggest event of all was the British Grand Prix, where 140,000 people attended Silverstone on Sunday to watch Lewis Hamilton claim a controversial victory.
Earlier stages in the government’s testing program analyzed the impact of social distancing and masking, gradually increasing capacity, including at several football matches, culminating in the FA Cup final between Leicester City and Manchester City, which was attended by 20,000 people. .
According to Reuters, the results of the testing events found no substantial Covid outbreaks, although only 15 percent of those in attendance returned the two tests they were required to take before and after the event, meaning these findings should be interpreted with “extreme caution.”
When one of his followers questioned him whether a negative Covid test the day before matchday would suffice, Neville said: ‘The Euros have adopted this policy’.
The 46-year-old polled his 4.6 million followers and asked if they were in favor of vaccine passports at sporting events.
Nearly 13,000 people responded, with 48 percent in favor and 52 percent against the use of vaccination certification.
‘Only 6 minutes and 13,000 votes, but a demonstration of how divided we are on this issue. It should be debated maturely with understanding from both sides if it’s so even!’ Neville thought about the investigation.
As well as Covid passports, Sports post understands that fans can expect timed entry slots and be asked to wear face coverings in stadium halls and restrooms when they return in a few weeks, even though masks are no longer mandatory in national life.
So far, the passport, which the NHS app uses, has contained evidence of two shots, a negative test or natural immunity to a previous infection.
Regardless of the latest development, in-game sources admit that it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the football authorities to follow the guidelines already published by the government, including the use of Covid passports (including negative tests), measures for crowd control like timed entry and face masks.
Football is now struggling to come to an agreement and communicate a plan that will work and can be enforced. In the Premier League, the government expects plans to be in place at at least some clubs, if not all from the first game.
The situation is potentially more complicated in the EFL, where clubs are concerned about resource requirements and a lack of clarity about what constitutes a ‘very large’ event.
And Sky Sports pundit Neville expressed his disapproval of Covid passports as testing events were a ‘huge success’ and a poll on his account showed fans are divided on the issue.
While Neville’s poll predicts division among supporters over Covid passports, Sports post has found that Premier League football fans and supporter groups have expressed their support for the use of Covid passes to secure full capacity in stadiums next season.
Earlier this summer, fan representatives said they wanted the government to hurry and approve the plan so clubs and supporters could prepare for matches starting on August 13.
Sports post asked fan groups if they would support Covid passes containing proof of vaccination, a negative test or natural immunity.
Fan groups told Sportsmail they were in favor of using Covid passports this season
“We support ourselves because the main goal is to get fans back and enjoy the wonderful game,” said Matt Davis, a committee member at the Foxes Trust, which represents Leicester City supporters.
‘In our board the unanimous opinion was: ‘yes’ [to Covid passes]Davis added.
Fan groups at Arsenal, Manchester United, Southampton and Manchester City also supported Covid Passports when approached by Sportsmail.