Prime Minister confirms plans for stadia re-opening

This afternoon, Prime Minister Boris Johnson MP confirmed to Parliament his road map for the easing of lockdown restrictions in England, including the possibility for the first time in over a year for crowds to return to Emerald Headingley.

The Prime Minister has announced a four-part plan to lift the coronavirus lockdown.

Outdoor sports including football, golf and tennis will be allowed to resume in England from 29 March.

The plan to ease lockdown requires four tests on vaccines, infection rates and new coronavirus variants to be met.

“The turnstiles of our sports stadia will once again rotate,” said Johnson.

Leisure centres, gyms and swimming pools can open from 12 April.

Venues such as gyms, tennis courts and golf courses have been closed across England since lockdown was announced on 4 January.

With the new Betfred Super League season set to kick off behind closed doors at Emerald Headingley on 26th March, the tantalising prospect of some fans being able to attend games in the near future is now in sight.

Leeds Rhinos Chief Executive Gary Hetherington commented, “We certainly welcome the direction of travel in terms of the government’s plans for allowing the opening up of stadia for fans to return. We hope the process can be accelerated as soon as it is deemed feasible to do so given the necessary restrictions.

“Since last July, we have been proud to make Emerald Headingley available for Betfred Super League games with a great deal of hard work, time and investment going in to make the stadium a secure and safe environment for players, staff, media and broadcasters over the last six months. We have learned invaluable lessons and I am confident we will have everything in place to make Emerald Headingley a secure and safe venue for all the fans when they are finally able to return.

“On behalf of everyone at the Rhinos, I would like to thank all our fans and especially our members and partners for their unstinting support and I am sure we can all look forward to the near future when we are back together again enjoying our wonderful sport.”