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Written Question
Snooker: Coronavirus
18 Jun 2021

Questioner: Daisy Cooper (LDEM - St Albans)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what the legal position is that informed the decision to exclude fans who were (a) under 18 years old, (b) vulnerable adults and (c) pregnant from the World Snooker Championship that took place at Sheffield Crucible Theatre from 17 April to 3 May 2021.

Answered by Nigel Huddleston

The Ministerial Direction for the World Snooker Championships relaxed a number of Covid restrictions, including rules on capacity limits culminating in up to 4,000 people at an indoor seated venue for the Final.

For each pilot event a Public Sector Equality Duty impact assessment was carried out to consider the impact of this scientific study on groups with protected characteristics, including under 18s, those with disabilities, and pregnant people.

Under 18s were excluded from the World Snooker Championship as participants were asked to consent on the basis of the increased risk of COVID 19 transmission due to the relaxation of some risk mitigation factors (social distancing and capacity limits). It was considered that the disproportionate impact on under 18s not attending was justified.

It was considered that those defined as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable, including those who are disabled or pregnant may have been more at risk where the restrictions on social distancing and capacity limits were removed. The Science Board agreed that given the nature of the pilot programme it would not be possible to permit clinically vulnerable people to safely participate. The disproportionate impact of clinically vulnerable people not attending was considered justified on the basis that the policy only applies to pilot events in the programme.

Throughout the Events Research Programme (ERP) processes have been reviewed and adapted. After the World Snooker Championship, following stakeholder consultation and feedback from a number of disability groups, the ERP Science Board reviewed the approach of the ERP with respect to Clinically Extremely Vulnerable individuals attending pilot events. The current position is that the decision to attend an ERP pilot event lies with the individual. All attendees are required to fill out a consent form as part of the sign up process for the research programme. This takes into account the increased risk of COVID 19 transmission due to the relaxation of some risk mitigation factors (including removing social distancing).

Although those under the age of 16 may be competent to agree to provide consent to medical treatment (known as Gillick competence), the Programme's Science Board has recommended that most ERP events will not allow under 16s.


Written Question
Events Industry: Coronavirus
24 May 2021

Questioner: Gareth Thomas (LAB - Harrow West)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how many people have taken part in his Department’s covid-19 testing trials for the return to events with large numbers of people; where those trials took place; how many people were tested before each event; how were those people required to present the evidence of a negative covid-19 test before they were allowed access to events; what steps were taken to ensure that access was allowed only to those who could prove they had a negative covid-19 test; and how many people took part in post-event testing.

Answered by Nigel Huddleston

Over 80,000 people have taken part in the ERP’s first phase of events in total, covering:

  • FA Cup Semi Final, Wembley Stadium (18 April)

  • World Snooker Championship, Sheffield Crucible Theatre (17 April-3 May)

  • Carabao Cup Final (25 April)

  • ACC Business Event, Liverpool (28 April)

  • Circus Nightclub, Liverpool (30 April-1 May)

  • The Sefton Park Pilot, Liverpool (2 May)

  • BRIT Awards, London (11 May)

  • Mass Participation Run, Kempton (15 May)

  • FA Cup Final, Wembley Stadium (15 May)

Public safety is our main priority and proof of a negative lateral flow test was required for entry to all these ERP events. Throughout the ticket purchase and consent form process, all attendees were informed and reminded of the negative Lateral Flow Test being a condition to entry. To aid research, participants are also requested to undertake a PCR test as close as possible to their attendance at an event, and again five days after attendance at an event. The scientific research teams are still collating the data on post-event testing.


The ERP’s research findings, including the independent scientific reports, will be published shortly.


Written Question
Football: Coronavirus
29 Apr 2021

Questioner: Kate Osborne (LAB - Jarrow)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the return of spectators to the indoor World Snooker Championship on 3 May 2021, whether a decisions has been made on attendance of spectators at the FA Vase final at Wembley Stadium on the same day.

Answered by Nigel Huddleston

Whilst we would like to offer as many businesses as possible the opportunity to take part in the pilot programme, unfortunately it is not logistically feasible at this stage to run a large number of pilot events. I fully recognise that in normal times, fans would cherish the opportunity to travel to Wembley Stadium to support their club’s participation in the FA Vase final, and I understand the disappointment with this not being possible this year. The return of crowds is our priority for all football clubs, and we look forward to being able to welcome back fans to clubs as soon as it is safe to do so.


Written Question
Football: Coronavirus
28 Apr 2021

Questioner: Kate Osborne (LAB - Jarrow)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the decision to allow fans inside the Crucible to watch the World Snooker Championship, if he will allow spectators back to grassroots football games in outdoor stadiums.

Answered by Nigel Huddleston

The government recognises the importance of spectators to competitive sport, and to football in particular, as our national game, from the grassroots to the Premier League.

We welcome the return of spectators at selected sporting events as part of the science-led Events Research Programme (ERP). The ERP is running a series of pilots in April and May to inform decisions around the safe removal of social distancing at Step 4 of the Roadmap. The pilots will be run across a range of settings, venues, and activities, including football games, so that findings will support the full reopening of similar settings across multiple sectors.

The government has published the ‘COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021’ setting out the roadmap out of the lockdown restrictions for England, and which explains how restrictions will be eased over time.

Step 2 of the Government's roadmap sets out that spectators are not permitted to attend sporting events taking place on private land, other than for safeguarding purposes for or providing care or assistance to a person with disabilities participating in an organised sporting event or activity. They should maintain social distance and not mix with other households. This does not prevent people from viewing recreational or organised sport that is taking place in a public space, e.g. a park, in groups of up to 6 people or 2 households.

Sporting events that are intended to attract spectators (including ticketed events), or events that are likely to attract a significant number of spectators (e.g. a major marathon) should not take place in a public space, or on private land, until Step 3.


Written Question
Snooker: Coronavirus
26 Apr 2021

Questioner: Lord Faulkner of Worcester (LAB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they had with the World Snooker Championship, prior to its decision to exclude clinically vulnerable people from attending the event at the Crucible Theatre in May

Answered by Baroness Barran

The Events Research Programme (ERP) is running its first phase of 10-15 pilots in April and May to inform decisions around the safe removal of social distancing at Step 4 of the Roadmap. The pilots will be run across a range of settings, venues, and activities so that findings will support the full reopening of similar settings across multiple sectors.

We fully recognise the importance of these inclusion concerns and are reflecting on issues of diversity, inclusion and equality in the Events Research Programme, ensuring the pilot events cover a range of age groups, ethnicities, geographic location and accessibility.

The pilot events are the first steps to helping all members of the public safely back to mass events and these have been developed under a SAGE framework in line with the latest PHE and DHSC guidance.

Our Science Board has reviewed the Events Research Programme’s approach to clinically extremely vulnerable individuals attending the pilot events.

They strongly urge caution for the clinically extremely vulnerable attending the events on public health grounds, however these groups are not excluded from involvement in the pilots.

All attendees are required to fill out a consent form as part of the sign up process for the research programme, given the increased risk of COVID 19 transmission on account of the relaxation of some risk mitigation factors (social distancing and numbers attending).

For each pilot event, a Public Sector Equality Duty impact assessment is being carried out before each event which considers the impact of this scientific study on groups with protected characteristics, including those with disabilities.


Written Question
Snooker: Coronavirus
26 Apr 2021

Questioner: Lord Faulkner of Worcester (LAB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the decision by the World Snooker Championship to refuse entry to fans that are considered clinically vulnerable to the event at the Crucible Theatre in May, and (2) the consistency of the decision with (a) government guidelines, and (b) equality legislation.

Answered by Baroness Barran

The Events Research Programme (ERP) is running its first phase of 10-15 pilots in April and May to inform decisions around the safe removal of social distancing at Step 4 of the Roadmap. The pilots will be run across a range of settings, venues, and activities so that findings will support the full reopening of similar settings across multiple sectors.

We fully recognise the importance of these inclusion concerns and are reflecting on issues of diversity, inclusion and equality in the Events Research Programme, ensuring the pilot events cover a range of age groups, ethnicities, geographic location and accessibility.

The pilot events are the first steps to helping all members of the public safely back to mass events and these have been developed under a SAGE framework in line with the latest PHE and DHSC guidance.

Our Science Board has reviewed the Events Research Programme’s approach to clinically extremely vulnerable individuals attending the pilot events.

They strongly urge caution for the clinically extremely vulnerable attending the events on public health grounds, however these groups are not excluded from involvement in the pilots.

All attendees are required to fill out a consent form as part of the sign up process for the research programme, given the increased risk of COVID 19 transmission on account of the relaxation of some risk mitigation factors (social distancing and numbers attending).

For each pilot event, a Public Sector Equality Duty impact assessment is being carried out before each event which considers the impact of this scientific study on groups with protected characteristics, including those with disabilities.


Written Question
Snooker: Coronavirus
2 Oct 2020

Questioner: Robert Halfon (CON - Harlow)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether snooker clubs are subject to the covid-19 10pm curfew restrictions.

Answered by Nigel Huddleston

Sport facilities such as gyms, leisure centres and sport clubs including snooker clubs are not required to close, however, hospitality areas which sell food and drink (such as cafes and bars) must close at 10pm. This does not apply to dispensing machines such as vending or coffee machines. Delivery services and drive-through services can continue after 10pm, where applicable.

Where a sport facility sells food and drink to consume on site, customers must eat and drink at a table.


Written Question
Sports: Coronavirus
11 Sep 2020

Questioner: Jonathan Lord (CON - Woking)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to help the return of fans at live sports events during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered by Nigel Huddleston

The Government is keen to see the safe return of spectators to live sports events. A programme of pilot events is being carried out to allow venues and operators to test their covid-secure arrangements in line with the Government's guidance on the return of fans to elite sports events. The latest list of events was announced on 26 August 2020 and includes football, horse racing and rugby union.

The events have been selected to test a range of different event styles across the country’s major men’s and women’s spectator sports. A number of successful pilots have already been completed, including snooker at the Crucible, cricket at Edgbaston and the Oval, and football at Brighton & Hove Albion.

Subject to public health conditions, the pilots will build up throughout September with a view to a full reopening for fans under covid-secure conditions from 1 October.


Written Question
Sports: Coronavirus
9 Jul 2020

Questioner: Andrew Rosindell (CON - Romford)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to allow snooker clubs and other indoor sport venues to reopen as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

Answered by Nigel Huddleston

Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active. Snooker clubs have been allowed to open since 4 July, as long as they can follow the COVID-secure guidelines.

The Government is committed to reopening other facilities as soon as it is safe to do so, including indoor gyms and sports venues. The Sport Working Group, led by myself, feeds into the Secretary of State’s Cultural Renewal Taskforce and ensures strong sector and expert support for the co-development of guidelines and will help leisure facilities become COVID-secure and re-open as early as possible in July.

As with all aspects of the Government’s response to COVID-19, we will be guided by public health considerations to ensure that as restrictions are eased people can return to activity safely.


Written Question
Snooker: Coronavirus
6 Jul 2020

Questioner: Robert Halfon (CON - Harlow)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what his timescale is for the reopening of snooker clubs as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

Answered by Nigel Huddleston

Sports and physical activity facilities play a crucial role in supporting adults and children to be active. Snooker clubs have been allowed to open since 4 July, as long as they can follow the COVID-secure guidelines.


Written Question
Snooker
26 May 2020

Questioner: Karl McCartney (CON - Lincoln)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what meetings he has had with representatives of snooker organisations; and what the outcome was of those meetings.

Answered by Nigel Huddleston

I am having regular discussions with sector and industry bodies to understand the full impact of COVID-19 on sport and how the government can best provide support. This includes a fortnightly meeting with sporting organisations.


Written Question
Snooker
18 May 2020

Questioner: Karl McCartney (CON - Lincoln)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport, what recent meetings he has had with representatives of snooker; and what the outcomes of those meetings were.

Answered by Nigel Huddleston

I am having regular discussions with sector and industry bodies to understand the full impact of COVID-19 on sport and how the government can best provide support. This includes a fortnightly meeting with sporting organisations.


Written Question
Snooker
31 Jan 2019

Questioner: Conor Burns (CON - Bournemouth West)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether his Department has made an assessment of the economic benefits that major snooker tournaments deliver to host cities and towns.

Answered by Mims Davies

Neither DCMS or UK Sport are involved in the bidding for or hosting a snooker events, and as such we do not track or assess the economic or other benefits which such events may bring to the towns and cities hosting them.

According to latest Sport England participation statistics, 23,600 adults took part in snooker at least twice in the last 28 days (May 17-18), which is 0.1% of the population.

Between 1 April 2009 and 31 December 2018, Sport England invested into 37 multi-sport projects, benefitting billiards and snooker to a total award value of £7,411,759 (£224,000 Exchequer and £7,187,759 Lottery). There are also 9 multi-sport projects involving snooker currently at various stages of assessment. These include 8 Community Asset Fund and 1 Small Grants applications.