Cambridge United League Two & Yorkshire T20 Blast fan pilot events cancelled

Gloucester's Kingsholm stadium
Gloucester fans last attended a game at Kingsholm on 28 February, when the Cherry and Whites lost to Sale

Fan pilot events planned for a League Two match at Cambridge United and T20 Blast fixture at Yorkshire have been cancelled after new government advice.

Cambridge were set to welcome 2,000 fans for Saturday's game with Carlisle but, with crowds now capped at 1,000, it has been moved behind closed doors.

Yorkshire against Durham will also be played without fans on Wednesday after a local rise in Covid-19 cases.

But fans will now be at the Premiership game between Gloucester and Harlequins.

The fixture, to be played at Kingsholm on Monday, will be the second rugby union match to take part in the government pilot scheme allowing supporters to attend sports events in the coronavirus pandemic.

"We're absolutely delighted to have been selected to host a pilot event," chief executive Lance Bradley said.external-link

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) pilot scheme is due to continue despite the government restricting social gatherings to a maximum of six people from Monday.

DCMS has reduced the number of people that can attend sporting events to 1,000 following the increase in the number of positive coronavirus cases in the UK.

While the T20 Blast game at Emerald Headingley has been moved behind closed doors because of a rise in Covid-19 infections in the area, Cambridge have taken the decision to cancel their pilot event because of ticketing logistics.

Cambridge's chief executive Ian Mather told BBC Look East: "The concern we had was, 'what if fans come with the invalid ticket?'

"In the end it was decided on safety grounds we will just have to abandon the event and play behind closed doors.

"We were leading the way for the UK for getting fans back into stadiums in a socially-distanced way. We had a really good event on Tuesday when we played Fulham and all of the safety authorities were very pleased with how that went, so we'd had a really good start.

"Saturday was meant to be the next step and its not to be, not for the moment."

In a statement issued on Thursday, the English Football League said it was "awaiting further details from government officials" having "proposed that each club should be given the opportunity to stage a pilot on either 19 September or 26 September should they wish".

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