Sport Prem clubs say fans have welcomed Covid checks because they feel safer
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Top flight football clubs checking Covid passports say they have found a high level of compliance among fans, as thetold them to continue with the inspections.
Clubs spoken to by Sportsmail say the vast majority of supporters have had no objection to showing proof of vaccination or the results of a lateral flow test, or even medical exemptions.
One club said that participation had been close to 100% among those stopped and questioned, as supporters are keen to do whatever it takes to ensure they can attend.
'It has been very positive,' said a club source. 'There has been very little resistance.'
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'Fans have been fantastic and understanding,' said an executive at another Premier League club.
'There is a big group of fans who like the checks because it gives them confidence that they will not be infected.
'We do not want fixtures being cancelled. We want to protect the players and the staff and make it safe for fans. Why would we not do that? What is the negative?'
Clubs were conducting the checks in preparation for the introduction of the mandatory use of Covid passports at matches from next month.
The Government unexpectedly abandoned that plan this week, but yesterday the Premier League advised clubs to continue spot checking supporter's credentials anyway.
For most clubs, the checks have been very light-touch with no suggestion that anyone will be refused entry if they do not have the necessary paperwork.
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Even where entry is dependent on Covid certification, like at Chelsea, it is not clear how many supporters, if any, have been excluded.
However, clubs are already bracing themselves for the prospect of mandatory Covid passports at some point during the winter. The government now plans to introduce the measure if infection rates soar and clubs will be given just one week's notice.
At that point, fans would only be allowed in to stadiums if they have had two vaccine doese. Lateral flow tests would not be enough.
The Premier League is urging supporters to ensure they have been double jabbed.
This week they put out a video of the deputy chief medical officer telling fans to obtain their vaccinations, among other public health measures.
'Covid has not gone away,' said Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, who supports Boston United. 'And if we as supporters want to keep attending matches we've got to do our bit to keep ourselves and other people safe.'
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He added: 'Remember, the best way you can protect yourself and protect others is to get two doses of the vaccine.'
It takes 10 weeks from the first vaccination to obtain a Covid passport. If a fan were to be jabbed this week, it would be December before their passport would be active.
There is concern within the game that fans have not clocked the fact that entry to stadiums may become entirely dependent upon full vaccination.
'I would put money on the fact that most fans think lateral flow tests are included in whatever comes next,' said a well-placed source. 'Supporters need to be ready. The Prime Minister has given them notice.'
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that 'Plan A' to control the spread of coronavirus this winter was based on giving booster jabs to vulnerable people and the over 50s, and extending vaccination to children.
However, Mr Johnson said that if coronavirus infection rates soar, 'Plan B' is to introduce additional measures, including mandatory Covid passports at large sports stadia, with capacities above 10,000, as well as some indoor venues and nightclubs.
With a threshold of 10,000, around 74 clubs would be affected, including all in the Premier League and all the way down the EFL into League Two.
There are still some questions to answer over the introduction of Covid passports – based on vaccination.
Clubs will want to know if the Government plans to include children in the scheme, if it is implemented. And there is anxiety over medical exemptions, since clubs are unclear on whether they are entitled to demand proof of people's health conditions and deny them entry if they do not provide it.
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