We have grown accustomed to knowing what would be in the latest reopening measures well in advance and speculation over the weekend suggests that sporting event attendance will be approved for July when Cabinet approves the latest round of changes on Friday.

The feeling is that larger grounds will be able to admit spectators up to an initial five per cent of their capacity, which would be a little over 4,000 at Croke Park, a little over 2,500 at the Aviva Stadium and around 2,000 at Pairc Uí Chaoimh.

The numbers are expected to rise through the summer and the big winners could be the events taking place from September including the All Ireland Ladies Football Final, the Guinness Autumn Series of Rugby internationals in November, and the FIFA World Cup Qualifier against Portugal at the same stadium, also in November.

Meanwhile, things are moving faster in Northern Ireland with 500 fans to be allowed to attend Ulster Rugby’s fixture this weekend against Scarlets in the Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup.

A ballot of #TogetherUlster members will open at 2 pm this afternoon for 24 hours and those who succeed will have until Wednesday to confirm their attendance and pay the €20 ticket price.

It is also hoped that there will be additional information about the relaxation of restrictions on indoor sport with the hope for classes returning first at swimming pools and then in gyms.

The changes are being made more palatable to public health officials with the rollout of the vaccination programme.

It is likely that additional measures will be required for the early sporting events with lessons learned from similar re-openings around the world.

Aviva Stadium Director Martin Murphy was quoted over the weekend as hoping that stadia would open up to 75 per cent capacity in the autumn with full numbers being back in 2022.

The Aviva Stadium, Croke Park Stadium and Ulster Rugby are among more than 250+ members of the Sport for Business network of sporting and business organisations working together across a number of key areas from sponsorship and research to advocacy and innovation.


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