Health chief warns vaccine is needed before Premier League returns to full stadia

July 28 – The whole of next season’s Premier League might have to be played in front of reduced crowds whenever spectators are finally allowed in, according to a senior government adviser.

Professor James Calder – who has chaired a cross-sport working group – has told the BBC that sports events are highly unlikely to have full capacity crowds.

“I would be very surprised if we could get full stadia back this year,” he said. “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 the next football season could be played in front of reduced capacities, he said: “Possible, yep… I think realistically we will be under scrutiny for the next year, certainly this side of Christmas and probably for the rest of the season.”

Calder added that experiments were being conducted to determine whether chanting and singing at stadiums might lead to a greater risk of virus transmission.

“If it is a problem, then we need to rethink the social distancing within the stadia, and that becomes very difficult,” he said.

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