With England flying high at Euro 2020, the nation has well and truly recaptured their love of the beautiful game.
Thanks to the global health crisis, there has seemingly been a disconnect between the average football fan and the sport itself, however that is set to be a thing of the past as the UK government announces an end to all restrictions on July 19.
What that means is that sports fans of all persuasions will be allowed back into the stands to support their favourite teams, with the new Premier League campaign – which get underway in August – one of the major competitions to benefit.
Stadiums will return to full capacity in the top flight as well as throughout the football pyramid – a move which could well save the non-league game from an apocalypse given the perilous state of the finances lower down the pyramid.
As part of the lifting of restrictions, Boris Johnson has confirmed that the one metre rule will be scrapped – allowing supporters to sing, hug the person next to them and jump up and down on the spot on those Baltic January afternoons.
As things stand, there will be no requirement to where a mask anywhere in English sporting venues, and it is believed that the vaccine certificate scheme – currently being tested at Euro 2020 and Wimbledon – will not be rolled out on a wider scale.
Scottish sports fans will have to wait a bit longer, with restrictions set to be lifted north of the border on August 9, while Wales and Northern Ireland’s ministers are yet to confirm when they intend to rescind their safety measures.
Bookies Eyeing Very Glorious Goodwood
It’s been more than a year since a capacity crowd attended a horse racing event on UK soil, and all being well that will come to an end at Glorious Goodwood in late July.
If the restrictions are lifted, Goodwood is likely to welcome as many as 18,000 punters per day to its festival, while Ascot – which will host the first major post-Covid race with the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes – could be packed to the rafters with race-starved fans on July 24.
The decision could not come at a more opportune moment for British racing, which has felt the full force of the financial losses of the pandemic. With less revenue coming into the Levy, prize money has also taken a hit – leaving some trainers and connections questioning their future in the sport.
Annamarie Phelps, the chairwoman of the British Horseracing Authority, was thrilled with the ‘huge boost’ the news would provide.
“We are delighted to hear the prime minister’s announcement today,” she said.
“Monday July 19 will be a significant day for all sports, and very much so for British racing. This news comes as a huge boost to an industry, which relies so heavily on its nearly six million race-going fans each year.
“Everyone involved in our sport has been looking forward to this news for the last 13 months, and worked tirelessly and with great patience to safely keep the show on the road in this time.”
On-course bookmakers will be allowed back into the betting ring without restriction for the first time in over a year too, and it is assumed they will be allowed to start taking cash bets once more – essential for the future of the sector.