Fans to watch Brighton friendly in new pilot scheme

Brighton will allow season-ticket holders and club members to attend their pre-season friendly

Fans will be allowed in the Amex Stadium for Brighton’s friendly with Chelsea on Saturday as part of the government’s latest pilot scheme.

Fans will also be allowed at a women’s friendly at Lewes on Sunday, West Ham and Arsenal’s Women’s Super League game and Non-League Finals Day.

The Harlequins-Bath Premiership rugby union match at Twickenham Stoop on 5 September will also permit spectators.

Some Bob Willis Trophy and T20 Blast cricket matches are also included.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) say capacity limits and ticketing processes will vary based on individual venues and events, with further pilots to be announced in due course.

Brighton say a total of 2,500 tickets will be made available to season-ticket holders and members for Saturday’s match.

The capacity at Twickenham Stoop is expected to be limited to 4,000.

Last month the government cancelled a previous pilot scheme after a spike in coronavirus cases.

Spectators were due to watch the first two days of two county cricket matches, horse racing and the World Snooker Championship.

A limited number of fans were allowed to watch the final of the World Snooker at the Crucible in Sheffield earlier this month.

The St Leger Festival at Doncaster from 9-12 September will be the first of three horse racing venues allowing spectators to return to the sport.

The St Leger is the final Classic of 2020, the other four having been held behind closed doors, due to Covid-19.

Other meetings to welcome back crowds will be at Warwick on 21 September and Newmarket from 24-26 September.

A previous racing pilot event at Goodwood was cancelled by the government last month following the Covid-19 increase.

Racing has taken place behind closed doors since it returned on 1 June following the pandemic, with only essential personnel, since followed by owners, allowed at the track.

Racecourse Association chief executive David Armstrong said: “The disappointment of postponing our last confirmed pilot at Goodwood was felt across the sport, but the learnings and behind-the-scenes work have been of great value to others.

“Racing is ready to proceed in a safe manner and we are looking forward to once again welcoming crowds back to the racecourse.”

Basketball and speedway fixtures next month are also due to be part of the pilot scheme.

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