England vs New Zealand: Edgbaston in talks with Government over increased crowds for June Test

England are due to host New Zealand in second match of two-Test series at Edgbaston on June 10; outdoor venues set to permit maximum of 4,000 fans from May 17 but organisers hope use of testing and vaccine certificates will lead to increased limit

The organisers of the Test between England and New Zealand at Edgbaston in June are in talks with the Government over using “testing, masks and vaccine certificates” to permit larger crowds.

The Test is due to begin on June 10. From May 17, outdoor stadiums are due to be able to host 50 per cent of their capacity or 4,000 people – whichever is lower – as part of the Government’s roadmap to remove coronavirus restrictions.

That currently means Edgbaston – which has a capacity of 25,000 – would be able to welcome 4,000 spectators for the second game of the two-Test series.

However, Government plans will also allow the largest outdoor seated venues to host up to 10,000 fans or 25 per cent of their capacity – whichever is lower – from May 17.

In addition, the Government is hoping to hold test events with increased numbers of spectators before June 21, at which point they hope to lift all restrictions.

Warwickshire chief executive Stuart Cain said: “We’re working with the ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) and Government on testing larger crowds at the England versus New Zealand Test match in early June.

“Using protocols such as testing, masks and vaccine certificates along with other social distancing measures, we’re confident that we can get a sizable crowd into the game safely, setting sport up for when full crowds could potentially return after June 21.”

Cain also welcomed the announcement that cricket is set to receive a significant portion of the £300m summer sports recovery package as part of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s upcoming Budget.

The ECB said last September that the coronavirus pandemic had cost the sport over £100m, with the overall impact likely to be double that amount.

Cain said: “This morning’s announcement is positive news. Like most sports, cricket has taken a huge hit over the last 12 months and it’s only prudent financial measures and generous support from our club members that have seen us through.

“The devil is in the detail so we look forward to more information on how to access the emergency funding after the Budget.

“The professional game has been played behind closed doors and cricket clubs across the county have struggled with bars closed and restrictions stopping the game being played in the way we love.

“Warwickshire Cricket Board have been excellent in the way that they have helped the recreational game through the pandemic.”


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