Hopes for British sports fans to return to stadiums this October have been reignited. Former England Rugby Captain, Mike Tindall, backs ‘game changing’ new COVID-19 testing system.
These tests are part of a new initiative called “Fans are Back”, which would see a sample between 500 to 5,000 sports fans given the tests before a sporting event. The results of the test would be available within ten minutes, accessible via a ‘virtual passport’ on your smart-phone.
A test match for the system was recently set up by the rugby union club Sale Sharks, where the results are to be judged by the government, with a chance of the technology being rolled out across the United Kingdom.
Tindall, the former Bath and Gloucester star, joined by Mark Cueto and Tom Curry, featured in a video which demonstrates the procedure of the test.
The 2003 World Cup Winner visited the testing centre to trial the promising new system
The initiative, which comes from Electronics developer VST Enterprises, is a response to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s promise to help the sports economy get back on its feet, with all spectator sports at a standstill.
The Rapid test kit takes 1 minute to administer to a sports fan and gives test results within 10 minutes. It boasts a 98.7% accuracy testing for signs of a carrier of COVID-19.
The test is accompanied by a virtual ‘passport’ which will cost £15 and can be downloaded from any smartphone.
Mike Tindall said: “Getting fans back to watching live sport safely is the number one priority for clubs, teams and fans right now.
“Providing safe, accurate testing and ensuring that each person has a secure digital health passport to authenticate their test status result is vital to be able to do this. The fans are the lifeblood of any sport – without them it’s just not the same and so this is a great step forward.
“The test is simple, easy to use and the results are then uploaded to the app on your mobile phone which fans can present when asked and it will also remind you when your next test is due, hopefully enabling the long term safe return of fans”.
If successful, the new scheme could mean Scottish supporters being back in their seats in time for the start of the SPFL Championship, League 1 and 2 seasons. This would be a significant boost to lower league sides across the country.
The return of fans has been highlighted by many public figures as the most obvious way to revitalise the sports economy.
The former Minister for Sport Richard Caborn said:
“This is exactly what the Government need to be encouraging sports administrators to adopt for fans to be safe in coming back into the sports stadiums and major events.
“By running the Fans are Back test pilot programme this will allow the football and rugby clubs to trial a program of rapid testing and using a V-Health Passport™ to confirm and authorise a persons Covid status.
“In my opinion it is a significant and positive way in ensuring that spectator sports can resume in the UK where we test test test and use a secure health passport that also protects peoples data and which validates that test result.
That is the only way we can ensure that sports fans are safely entering a stadium as test negative”.