New measures to combat Covid-19 and the new Omicron variant were passed by the House of Commons last (Tuesday) night.
Included in the ‘Plan B’ rules announced by Boris Johnson last week and now introduced are stricter measures on attending sports venues.
Here’s how this is all set to impact on those heading to Rugby League matches…
What are the rules?
A ‘Covid pass’ will now be required to enter certain venues including sports grounds above determined capacities in England.
This pass can be either the NHS Covid Pass – showing full vaccination, a recent negative test or a medical exemption – or other proof of a negative lateral flow or PCR test in the 48 hours prior to attending.
It will be required by law for supporters at outdoor unseated venues with more than 4,000 people, and any event with more than 10,000 people, to show this in order to attend.
How does this affect Rugby League?
While only a handful of Rugby League clubs regularly attract five-figure attendances, most grounds do include significant standing sections, meaning the lower threshold of 4,000 will apply.
As a result, most Super League matches are set to fall under the rules if they remain in place when the competition begins in February.
Clubs will have a duty to check that every supporter has this pass, and will need to meet the logistical challenge of doing so.
However, there will be no attendance restrictions in place like those seen when supporters first returned to grounds last season, while face coverings are not mandatory as the stadiums are outdoor settings.
When do the measures come into force?
The rules have come into force immediately, meaning the first Rugby League fixtures impacted will be the Boxing Day friendlies which begin the pre-season schedule.
The match between Leeds Rhinos and Wakefield Trinity at Headingley is likely to come under the rules whereby a ‘Covid pass’ is needed for entry, as potentially could the Bradford Bulls v Halifax Panthers clash at Odsal.