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Croke Park set to host fans af...
Football

Croke Park set to host fans after August Bank Holiday weekend

Croke Park is set to have supporters for the All-Ireland finals, but as things stand, capacity for outdoor venues will not exceed 5,000. 

The National Public Health Emergency team has issued recommendations to the Government which the Cabinet will consider on Friday.

Among these recommendations is the permission for outdoor sporting venues to hold 5,000 fans or 25 percent of ground capacity, whichever is lower.

There will be trial events in June and July and there is the potential for that figure of 5,000 to be revised upwards, so Croke Park, which has a capacity of 82,300, may see more fans than expected by the time the All Ireland senior hurling final is staged on Sunday, August 22nd. The All Ireland senior football final is slated for Sunday, August 29th.

Up to 500 people will be allowed to attend GAA matches in the six counties from this weekend.

Fans could return south of the border as early as next week, with NPHET recommending that 200 fans be allowed into outdoor venues in June and 500 in July.

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, told Newstalk Breakfast that there is optimism there could be a lot more than 5,000 people in attendance at the All-Ireland finals.

"I'll be honest, if things keep going the way they are going, I would expect even those numbers that are going to be announced today in terms of numbers in the stadia in August - if we keep managing things in June and July, and we don't see a spike and we don't see new concerns, I think that won't be the limit of our ambition - I think we'll actually see larger numbers, but only if in the interim period we get it right.

"So I think we can expect in that sort of August period much larger numbers back at ordinary events."

The pace of vaccinations in this country is behind the United Kingdom, but evidence has shown that outdoor events produce a very low rate of Covid-19 transmission.

Of the 58,000 people that attended sporting trial events in the UK, just 15 cases emerged, and none from the FA Cup Final.

It increases the possibility of more fans being allowed into European Championship games at Wembley from a current number of just over 22,000.

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