icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm
11 Apr, 2021 13:02

Premier League club Arsenal throw their weight behind ‘vaccine passports’ as they back British government plans for football fans

Premier League club Arsenal throw their weight behind ‘vaccine passports’ as they back British government plans for football fans

Former Premier League champions Arsenal have announced their support for the use of "Covid certification" that would allow fans to attend matches, backing tests and documentation to bring crowds back to their 60,000-capacity home.

In a statement supporting an open letter sent by the Premier League to cross-party leaders including UK prime minister Boris Johnson, Arsenal asked for evidence gathered at imminent trials at major sporting events, including the League Cup and FA Cup finals, to be used to shape how crowds are allowed back to matches.

Tennis tournament Wimbledon and Silverstone, the home of the Formula One British Grand Prix, are among the organizations to have signed the letter, which has caused widespread controversy amid fears over privacy, human rights and fair treatment of fans.

"As we look forward to a brighter future with our supporters back where they belong at the Emirates Stadium, we fully support the open letter sent to MPs by a range of sporting bodies, including the Premier League," Arsenal said ahead of their top-flight fixture at Sheffield United on Sunday.

"The letter outlines the support for a Covid certification review as a credible option to enable full stadia from June 21 onwards.

"It refers to the UK Government 'investigating how a COVID certification arrangement could reduce and then safely remove the requirement for social distancing'.

"It goes on to say: 'There are many issues to be addressed including how the technology would work and its ease of use at major events, for both the attendees and the organisers.'

"It also makes clear that any solution 'must ensure that everyone can access stadia and must include arrangements that would verify a negative COVID test or an anti-body test or vaccination certification. The final approach must not be discriminatory, should protect privacy, and have clear exit criteria.'

"Based on these principles, we support the review of the use of COVID certification for major events.

"Any final decision on their application should follow an assessment of the evidence gathered in the forthcoming ERP [Events Research Programme] trials."

The statement by the midtable Gunners, who have been operating without crowd revenue and gate receipts for more than a year, received a mixed response.

"It should be full stadiums come the 22nd of June," urged one reader, criticizing the club for "writing to the government begging for Covid passports." "It's a joke – just let fans in like you used to."

Another fired back: "Rapid test? No problem. I will not ever, for any kind of event, support vaccine passports.

"No problem with getting the jab – will do as soon as possible – but will never make personal health publicly available information. If that is coming, then goodbye Emirates."

A backer of the idea called it the "safest way to have us fans return" and said they "looked forward to being back", while others joked that fans should not welcome the prospect of witnessing Arsenal's underperforming team in person.

"Forcing people to get a vaccine to see Arsenal drop out of every competition live," one said of the fallen giants who are currently sandwiched between Aston Villa and Wolves in the table, ten points short of a European qualification place. "Poor."

Also on rt.com ‘Vaccinated queen’: Tennis ace Bouchard says jabs will ‘get us back to real life’, likens treatment to a Willy Wonka golden ticket