The English Premier League has announced details of its COVID-19 matchday protocols as it seeks to ensure the safety of supporters during the new season.
The 2021-22 season kicks off on August 13, with clubs set to welcome full-capacity crowds for the first time since March 2020.
Fans were permitted in limited numbers towards the end of last season as certain COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, but with supporters now set to return in much greater numbers, the Premier League has put in place a series of measures to help prevent spread of the virus at games.
Supporters attending matches should be prepared to show proof of double vaccination or that they have received a negative lateral flow test in the 48 hours prior to the game.
Fans can receive their National Health Service COVID pass through the NHS app or website, while lateral flow tests are available free from local NHS providers, some pharmacies and can be ordered online.
Any supporter who is at risk of passing on COVID-19 should not attend a match.
The Premier League said matchday stewards will receive specialist training to prepare them for the new system, with random spot-checks to take place during the first few games of the season to help instil the new processes.
Though clubs will give clear guidance on the new protocols, the Premier League encouraged fans to check their team’s website before games for advice, including information regarding junior fans attending matches.
The Premier League will also introduce a new Supporter Code of Conduct for fans in order to help keep their fellow supporters safe.
This will include wearing masks in indoor areas, avoiding close contact with people they do not know and following one-way signage around stadiums.
“Even though the UK is reopening, the government has made it clear that this pandemic is still far from over,” the Premier League said. “It is possible the safety measures for matches could be subject to change at short notice. Fans should continue to follow the latest public health guidance and guidance from their club.
“However, even in these uncertain times we are optimistic that by continuing to work together with fans, supporter groups, football stakeholders, national government and local authorities, everyone can enjoy full and vibrant stadiums while staying safe from COVID-19.”