Premier League hope 90-minute Covid-19 swab tests will help bring supporters back to stadiums with officials desperate to see the return of fans in the top flight
- A new Covid-19 swab test could allow fans to return to Premier League matches
- The ‘on-the-spot’ checks are set to be rolled out across the UK in the next week
- Top flight officials hope that the tests could be used to bring back supporters
- Testing stations at stadiums are unlikely but tests have been hailed as life saving
Premier League officials are looking at whether the 90-minute Covid-19 tests can allow fans to return to matches.
The new ‘on-the-spot’ swab and DNA tests are to be rolled out across the UK in hospitals and care homes next week.
And senior officials at the Premier League want to examine whether they can become part of a plan to get supporters back into grounds.
New Covid-19 swab tests could provide hope in the quest to bring fans back to stadiums
Hosting testing stations at stadiums is unlikely, given that there is a desire to stop crowds congregating en masse and that fans would have to be at the venue two hours before kick-off.
But the tests, described by Health Secretary Matt Hancock as ‘life-saving’, have caught the eye of top-flight bosses, who are desperate to see the return of supporters.
The league would only use the tests should they become widely available and would not take them away from sections of society that need them most.
Premier League officials are desperate to have supporters back in top flight grounds
As revealed by Sportsmail in recent weeks, a number of measures to aid the return of football fans are being examined, including lifting the 35-year ban on drinking alcohol in view of the pitch at matches in England and Wales. It is understood that support for that measure is growing in the Premier League and that the EFL are also broadly in favour.
A large number of clubs have already expressed a desire to lift the ban, which they believe would have a positive financial impact at a time of crisis. However, a major stumbling block could emerge in the shape of opposition from the Government and the police.
On Tuesday, Bundesliga clubs agreed a plan to allow fans back in, potentially as early as September 18, the opening day of Germany’s 2020-21 season.
The final say will go to each of the country’s federal states after all 36 clubs from the country’s top two divisions agreed on a way forward.
Depending on Government approval, summer friendlies could be used to trial return of fans
Meanwhile, the Premier League’s clubs meet on Thursday to discuss a number of matters, including plans for the curtailment of next season, should the Covid-19 pandemic lead to another suspension of football.
A paper, described as a ‘vast piece of work’, has been prepared on the matter and will be distributed to those present to discuss. There is not expected to be a vote on which option to go for, but one will be taken before the season starts on September 12.
The paper, which is intended to prompt discussion, explores a number of options and key questions will need to be answered. Among the issues are the number of games needed to have been played to allow the competition to be recorded, how outstanding league positions would be decided and the number of clubs needed to approve curtailment.
Clubs will also discuss the various rule changes which are set to come into play next season, as well as their pre-season plans. Should there be Government approval, the return of supporters could be trialled at friendlies later this summer.