There is a possibility that the entire 2020-21 English Premier League season could be played in front of reduced crowds, a senior government adviser has said.
“I would be very surprised if we could get full stadia back this year,” James Calder, who was part of the cross-sport working group with government and health officials that laid down protocols on the return of sports in UK amid the COVID-19 pandemic, told BBC Sport.
“Realistically I think it probably will need a vaccine and also a high take-up rate of that vaccine before we can really see full capacity stadia.”
Asked about whether there was the potential for the entirety of the next football season to be played in front of reduced capacities, Calder said: “I think realistically we will be under scrutiny for the next year … and probably for the rest of the season,” he added.
“Now if there is no massive droplet spread we can keep within the social distancing that we’ve put down for … the Crucible and The Oval.
“But if it’s a problem then we need to rethink the social distancing within the stadia and that becomes very difficult,” he added.
Around 1,000 fans recently watched a cricket friendly match between Surrey and Middlesex at The Oval. The World Snooker Championship at the Crucible and the Goodwood horse racing festival are also pilot events.