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Test events lined up for fans’ return in Ireland

The Irish government has confirmed a series of sporting events that will serve as tests for the return of fans to stadia.

The 15 pilot events have been scheduled for between June 11 and July 10, with the biggest test being the final of the National Camogie League on June 20 at Croke Park, where 3,000 spectators will be allowed to attend.

The trial events in Gaelic football, soccer, rugby union, golf and athletics will pave the way for the wider return of fans to venues as the government announced the easing of long-standing COVID-19 restrictions.

From June 7, 100 spectators will be able to attend matches at smaller venues, with the capacity rising to 200 at venues that can hold more than 5,000 fans. In Northern Ireland, 500 fans are currently allowed to attend matches.

“The lessons from these pilots will help inform a wider return for more events later in the summer,” said Ireland’s Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin.

“I also know how much our teams have missed supporters and this is a start to bringing atmosphere back to sports events.”

Sports Minister Jack Chambers added: “The trial events we have announced will allow for sports bodies and stadiums to put in place and test out the necessary safety measures to allow for the safe return of spectators. The trial events we have identified are spread across five different sports and in venues located around the country.

“The intention is that the pilots will pave the way for even more matches, games and other sporting events to be attended by spectators further into July and August with capacity increasing all the time throughout the summer.”

Image: Fraser Reid (CC by 2.0 – edited for size)