Covid-19 rules good enough to keep stadiums open, says Bristol City chief executive

Sports stadiums in England should stay open to fans despite the rise in Covid-19 cases, says Bristol City chief executive Richard Gould.

The Welsh government has ordered all sporting events in Wales to be played without fans after the Omicron variant saw case rates rise.

But Gould believes new rules introduced last week will make stadiums safe.

Fans at any event with a crowd of more than 10,000 must be double vaccinated or have proof of a negative test.

“If you went to a football game over the weekend you were either double jabbed or you’d have a negative test, so to me that puts you in a very safe space,” Gould told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"I'm trying to follow the logic of arguments with regards to closing down sports stadia thereafter because there are lots of other sectors or areas who are operating currently without Covid certification. "I'm not saying others need to carry the can, but neither should we carry the can. "When decisions are made they need to be made logically otherwise people will lose confidence in the decision making."

Bristol City chief executive Richard Gould

Six of last weekend’s Premier League matches and 19 in the English Football League were called off because of players either contracting Covid-19 or being close contacts of those who have.

On Monday, Premier League figures showed 77% of players have had two vaccinations, a rise from 68% in October.

Meanwhile, data collected by the EFL in November showed that 59% of players were double vaccinated, with 10% having had a single dose at the time, while 6% were set to get a first jab.

Unvaccinated players deemed a close contact of someone who has tested positive for coronavirus must self-isolate for 10 days under the legal requirements set out by the UK government.

However, both competitions have decided to play on over the festive period, with EFL chief executive Trevor Birch saying fans could “continue to feel confident in attending matches” because of the rules in place.

“In the event that crowds are stopped from going to sports stadia, as we’ve seen in Wales, how long is that going to go on for, what is the plan thereafter and is that decision consistent with what’s going on in the rest of society?” Gould added.

“We’ve got Covid certification in sports stadia, we are sitting outside, and you just want to be treated fairly across everything else that’s going on within the community.”

Original article published 21.12.21 on the BBC Sport website

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