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    British sports bodies pin hopes on COVID certificates for full return of fans

    (Reuters) – Britain’s sports governing bodies have backed the government’s COVID certification programme which could allow a full return of fans at stadiums without social distancing requirements from June 21.

    The certificate would show if a person had been vaccinated, had a recent negative test or natural immunity from a positive test taken in the last six months.

    An open letter from sports bodies, including the Football Association, Premier League, and the Rugby Football Union read: “All of our sports can see the benefit that a COVID certification process offers in getting more fans safely back to their sport as quickly as possible.

    “We know that our stadia can only be fully filled with an assurance process.

    “This process must ensure that everyone can access stadia and must include arrangements that would verify a negative COVID test or an anti-body test alongside vaccination certification.”

    The letter was also co-signed by the English Football League, All England Lawn Tennis Club, Lawn Tennis Association, Rugby Football League, England and Wales Cricket Board, Scottish Professional Football League and the Silverstone Circuit.

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    The government on Sunday said it will trial the certification system in a comedy club, a nightclub and FA Cup matches at Wembley in the coming weeks.

    The pilots, which are part of the Events Research Programme, will inform government decisions on stage four of easing lockdown restrictions, which begins no earlier than June 21, when large events could be fully reopened.

    In response to the letter, a government spokesperson said: “We welcome the constructive approach from major British sports as we explore how testing COVID certification and other steps can help get more fans back into stadiums and other large events safely.

    “We want as many fans as possible to be able to enjoy a great British summer of sport, safely.”

    The sports bodies added the certification process must not be discriminatory, should protect privacy and have a clear exit criteria.

    (Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)

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