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Events Research Programme Guidance U-turn

Sports fans should always have the freedom to choose to attend a live sporting event and not be discriminated against because of their disability or health.

Level Playing Field is pleased to see that after weeks of lobbying, the government has taken the correct steps in reviewing its Events Research Programme’s approach to Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) individuals attending the pilot events.

The policy change will no longer exclude CEV people from attending government test events and, in its place, will empower CEV fans to make their own decisions and risk assessments, which they have done throughout this pandemic and life.

This decision is the correct one, and this exclusion should never have been in place at the start. Having the right to choose how you live your life is a fundamental human right. The original government guidance had the potential to set live sport on a dangerous path of exclusion and discrimination.

We expect to see this policy review in place for the upcoming FA Cup Final that will take place at Wembley on May 15 and for the World Snooker Championships to change its ticketing policy immediately to no longer exclude CEV people.

Tony Taylor, Chair of Level Playing Field, said: “Throughout this pandemic, Level Playing Field has pursued a ‘re-opening for all’ approach. We were disappointed and very concerned that at the first opportunity to demonstrate equality, the very opposite was done. Of course, we are pleased that the government’s science board has reviewed their original decision, meaning that fans can choose and make their own risk assessments to attend live sport.

“We hope that the actions taken do not have a detrimental effect on other re-opening procedures. Anyone planning events must have equality, access, and inclusion at the heart of their plans and actions.

“On behalf of Level Playing Field, I would like to thank supporters and partners for their assistance in lobbying the government and a special thank you to Lord Faulkner for raising this issue in the House of Lords.”