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Saturday, September 25, 2021

Plans to ban unvaccinated fans from attending football matches branded ‘disgraceful’

Steve Brine MP, a Conservative member of the Digital, Culture, Media & Sport select committee and former Government minister, said: “We know the vaccine doesn’t stop transmission, so it’s still hard to see what exam question passports are the answer to.”

Darragh MacAnthony, the owner of Peterborough United, has also previously branded vaccine passports “a disgrace”, accusing them of “punishing” the young.

Full details of exactly how vaccine passports would work in sport had yet to be made public on Wednesday night but Telegraph Sport has been told the Government is unlikely to insist every match-going football fan’s NHS Covid Pass is checked.

That is because doing so could dramatically increase the time taken for supporters to enter grounds, compounding the risk of the virus spreading and of crowd disorder.

Ministers could therefore follow their Scottish counterparts by agreeing that random spot checks would be sufficient to deter the unvaccinated from attending.

The 10,000 threshold will also force clubs with attendances that only sometimes exceed that figure to choose whether to bring in spot checks or cap capacity at 9,999.

The chief executive of the Championship club said the cost of introducing checks would be negligible compared to lost gate receipts from such a cap and urged the English Football League simply to roll them out across the board.

A spokesman for the Government – which has provided some financial support to elite football during the pandemic – said: “We make no apologies for saying that getting the Covid-19 vaccine is the best way out of this pandemic, but as the Prime Minister has said, we do not see the need to proceed with mandatory certification this month.

“We are working closely with organisers of mass events to encourage the voluntary use of certification and the NHS Covid Pass, to demonstrate either a negative test or proof of vaccination, in order to ensure their events can run as safely as possible and at full capacity.”

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