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New COVID checks come into force at stadiums

New rules regarding the attending of mass events – which includes football matches – come into effect today, and fans aged 18 and over need to be aware of the new requirements under the Government’s ‘Plan B’ for dealing with COVID-19 over winter. 

In an announcement last week, the Government said: “From Wednesday 15th December, and subject to parliamentary approval, the NHS COVID Pass on the NHS App will become mandatory for entry into nightclubs and settings where large crowds gather – including unseated indoor events with 500 or more attendees, unseated outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees and any event with 10,000 or more attendees.

“People will be able to demonstrate proof of two vaccine doses via the app. Having considered the evidence since the emergence of Omicron, proof of a negative lateral flow test will also be accepted.”

Similar legislation has been in force in Wales this season, with Cardiff City, Newport County and Swansea City already operating these measures.

The size of football attendances mean that the new measures will apply to all games in the Premier League, Championship and League One. 

Fixtures in League Two and the National League could also be affected, as more than half the teams in League Two have an average gate in excess of 4,000, as well as half-a-dozen sides in the National League.

How can fans prepare?

The Premier League and EFL have both produced guidance for fans. Guidance from the EFL advises fans to:

  • Check the club’s latest COVID-19 guidance in advance of matchday and read its COVID Code of Conduct.
  • Ensure you have a valid form of COVID certification in your possession before you leave for the ground or you will not be permitted entry.
  • The best form of Certification is the COVID pass. You can download the COVID digital pass using the designated NHS App or to your wallet or camera roll in case there is no signal.
  • Bring your original printed NHS COVID Pass on the day of the fixture if you are unable to use the digital version.
  • A negative Lateral Flow test result will be permissible should you be unable to provide a COVID pass.
  • Make sure your passes are easily accessible to ensure efficiency and speed of access when approaching the turnstiles.

We have seen already this season that changes in ticketing checks at the turnstiles can lead to issues with fans getting in in time for kick-off. 

We advise all fans to be prepared and to get to grounds earlier than usual, as these extra checks could lead to increased queueing times to gain entry to the stadium. 

Also, it should go without saying, but make sure that your phone is well charged if you’re going to be relying on it for proof of vaccine status for entry. 

Useful links

How to get an NHS COVID Pass 

How to download a digital NHS COVID Pass 


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