Gaelic games and League of Ireland stadia operating at 5% capacity in July will be the first step in the return of crowds to sporting fixtures, Minister of State for Sport Jack Chambers has said.
Chambers said this afternoon there “is very extensive planning” ongoing surrounding the return of spectators in the months ahead.
The aim is to reopen turnstiles in July, with test events across the All-Ireland Championships and League of Ireland. Stadiums would operate at 5% capacity starting off, said the Minister of State.
Spectators would not need to be vaccinated to gain entry, but consideration is being given to matchday testing, be that antigen or PCR testing.
“We are really ambitious about getting spectators back from July,” Chambers told RTÉ Radio 1’s.
“Last October, we developed draft guidelines on the return of spectators. We are updating those guidelines presently so that they'll be ready in the coming weeks and that we can have a number of test events, for example, the All-Ireland series, League of Ireland games.
“We'd be looking at starting with a limited number of spectators and building on that. About 5% of a stadium would be what we had in the draft guidelines. That, for example, could be between 2,000-4,000 as a starter and then you try and build on that. And obviously, there is a huge amount of planning that has to go into entry and egress of fans.”
Five percent of Croke Park would be roughly 4,100, with Thurles and Páirc Uí Chaoimh coming in between 2,000-2,500.
“The big change from last autumn to now is that we have advanced the health screening component around antigen testing and PCR.”
When asked if spectators might be tested before entry into a venue, he said “that is certainly a consideration”.