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Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden claims to have ‘unlocked’ a sense of normalcy in the Pilot Trial events at Sports Help

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has claimed pilot test events such as the World Snooker Championship and the FA Cup semi-finals which will help to ‘unlock’ the spirit of normalcy and pave the way to a return to life as we knew it ‘.

  • Sports lovers return to UK Stadium this weekend
  • 320 fans attended Sheffield to play the World Snooker Championship on Saturday
  • 4,000 fans will participate in Sunday’s FA Cup tie between Leicester and Southampton
  • Wembley will also host 8,000 spectators in next week’s Carabao Cup Final

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden hopes the pilot program will ‘pave the way for the return to life as we knew it’ for the crowd returning to the game this week.

The opening day of the World Snooker Championship on Saturday in Sheffield was the first of several trials as part of the government-led Events Research Program (ERP), with other events later this week.

ERP will test various methods to identify the safest and most effective ways to allow fans to return to a significant number of sporting events from 21 June.

Oliver Dowden claims that this week’s sports pilot program is an important step towards a normal life

320 fans participated in the World Snooker Championship at the Crucible of Sheffield on Saturday

320 fans participated in the World Snooker Championship at the Crucible of Sheffield on Saturday

Wembley will have 4,000 fans for Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final between Leicester and Southampton, 8,000 in next week’s Carabao Cup final between Manchester City and Tottenham.

The capacity in the crucible will gradually be subject to strict conditions, including the requirement that ticket holders undergo pre- and post-coronovirus tests.

Dowden states that the success of these pilot events will be an important step on the return to normal life.

He wrote in a column in the Sunday Telegraph: ‘The World Snooker Championship is back with a bang in the world famous crucible arena.

Dowden claims that opening the crucible doors is the 'starting gun' for a return to normality

Dowden claims that opening the crucible doors is the ‘starting gun’ for a return to normality

‘This afternoon, it will feature in the FA Cup semi-finals between Leicester City and Southampton at Wembley, as well as next week’s Carabao Cup final – all playing in front of a crowd, as the government pulled out of a series. Pilot to test the return of large-scale events.

‘Together, these pilots will put the Kovid-19 under the microscope. We are deploying our UK universities and scientific expertise to examine the risk of transmission in very different settings: seated and combined; Indoor and outdoor locations.

‘In the past week, many of us tasted our first delicious pint in the garden of the local pub, or enjoyed the chili-meal outside our favorite restaurant.

‘We have sat down in a barber or barber chair with relief, and supported our local shops – browsing the book shop for rail or person for the first time in months.

There will be 4,000 fans in the FA Cup semi-finals between Leicester and Southampton on Sunday

There will be 4,000 fans in the FA Cup semi-finals between Leicester and Southampton on Sunday

‘But this is only a small piece of normal life. There are countless other things we all still remember: our theater and cinema, live gigs and festivals. A trip to the music with our family or a day out in football, surrounded by chanting fans.

‘These are things that help create memories throughout life, adding much needed color to our everyday existence.

‘These pilots will help unlock all those things. In a few months’ time we will be hoping at the Snooker World Championships and others will start not only for the initial fun but also for so much gun.

‘Eventually, they could pave the way for a return to life as we knew it.’

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