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HORSE RACING is amongst a small group of sports events to be used to pilot the safe return of spectators in late July and early August.
The fifth day of the Glorious Goodwood meeting on August 1 is the first horse racing fixture to benefit from the initiative, with a view to safely reopening competition venues for sports fans from October 2020.
The pilot scheme for spectators to return to elite sporting events, with social distancing measures in place, includes two men’s county cricket friendly matches – such as Surrey v Middlesex at The Oval on 26-27 July – the World Snooker Championship at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre from 31 July and the last day of Glorious Goodwood.
Goodwood will host an event for 5,000 people (plus participants) and has been designed for the safety of all onsite. Attendance will initially be offered to Goodwood Racecourse annual members and their guests.
David Armstrong, Racecourse Association (RCA) chief executive and chair of the welcoming crowds industry group, said: “We welcome the fact that horseracing is to be selected as one of the pilot events to welcome back crowds and my team and I acknowledge the great responsibility upon us.
“The safety protocols involved will be stringent and the Goodwood Racecourse team are in a fantastic place to implement them. The sport has come together to offer support to ensure the pilot event provides us with sufficient learnings that others may follow in time. These learnings will allow us to draft industry-wide protocols fir the wider scale return of crowds as soon as we are able.
“Crowds bring a wonderful atmosphere to a race day and many businesses associated with racecourses are reliant upon them. I sincerely hope that all involved enjoy their day— our focus now turns to supporting the Goodwood team in what is a landmark day for the sport.”
When announcing the pilot scheme Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “For months millions of us have felt the void of being unable to go to the match to support our team or attend a top-class sporting event. So I am pleased that we are now able to move forward with a plan to help venues safely reopen their doors to fans.
“I recognise that not every sport, team or club has the benefit of huge commercial revenue, and it is often their dedicated fans that are the lifeblood which helps keep them going. By working closely with sports and medical experts, these pilots will help ensure the safe return of fans to stadia.
“Although it will remain some time before venues are full to capacity, this is a major step in the right direction for the resumption of live spectator sport across the country.”
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