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Soccer: Premier League to introduce random COVID-19 fan checks at games

The Premier League, which starts a new season Friday, will conduct random COVID-19 spot checks for fans who attend games. Photo by Catherine Ivill/EPA-EFE
The Premier League, which starts a new season Friday, will conduct random COVID-19 spot checks for fans who attend games. Photo by Catherine Ivill/EPA-EFE

Aug. 10 (UPI) -- The Premier League will conduct random spot checks of fans' COVID-19 status at games this season, the top soccer league in England announced.

The 2021-22 Premier League season starts Friday. Attendance at games will be determined by local authorities and each of the league's 20 teams.

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"The Premier League and its clubs are looking forward to having full stadiums again and it is vital that everyone works together to make matchdays safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic," the league said Monday in a news release.

The league said match-going fans should be prepared to show they are fully vaccinated or received a negative lateral flow test in the previous 48 hours before the game they attend. Fans can obtain a National Health Service COVID pass through the NHS app or website.

The league said it will train stewards and provide guidance for fans before, during and after matches.

"Initially, in the first few match days of the season, supporters can expect the introduction of random spot checks for ticket holders at some grounds as we establish the required processes so clubs and fans are prepared for all match attenders to have their COVID-19 status checked upon arrival, should it become mandatory," the league said.

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Burnley hosts Arsenal in the first Premier League game of the season at 3 p.m. EDT Friday in Brentford. That game airs on NBCSN.

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