Premier League football clubs are set to continue carrying out random COVID-19 spot-checks at matches, despite plans to introduce a vaccination passport system in England having been dropped.
UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid revealed over the weekend that passports would not be required for large sporting events in England. It had been expected that the system would be introduced for nightclubs, music venues and sporting events such as football matches by the end of September but this will not be the case.
Ahead of the start of the 2021-22 season last month, the Premier League announced that random spot-checks would take place at stadiums to determine fans’ vaccination status, and these are now set to continue in the absence of any passport system.
The Times has reported that compliance officers will be deployed to ensure clubs are carrying out the checks. The Daily Mail has also reported that fans will be asked to stay away from matches unless they have been fully vaccinated or can show proof of a negative test.
So far this season, a handful of clubs have carried out spot-checks. Manchester United did so for its home match against Newcastle United on Saturday, on the understanding that mandatory checks would be introduced from October 1.
United indicated that fans who did not have the correct certification would still be permitted to enter Old Trafford, but added that this may change in the future. The club “strongly encouraged” all fans over 18 years old to be prepared to prove their COVID-19 status at all matches at Old Trafford.
Leicester City also carried out spot-checks for its home match against Manchester City on Saturday. Leicester asked everyone over the age of 18 to confirm their COVID-19 status by demonstrating their vaccination pass, showing proof of a negative lateral flow or PCR test result from within the previous 48 hours, or declaring an exemption from vaccinations and/or testing.