The plan sounded great: the Covid Safe Ticket had to make it possible to play football again in front of full stadiums from 13 August. Only the Pro League is sounding the alarm two weeks before the effective introduction of the system. “The idea is good, but it must also be possible to implement,” says spokesman Stijn Van Bever. “Otherwise I don’t know if we will be able to play for full stadiums in two weeks.”
On Tuesday, a first consultation was scheduled between the clubs from the Jupiler Pro League about the effective application of the Covid Safe Ticket. Just to refresh: this is a kind of corona pass that should make it possible from 13 August to attend events with more than 1,500 in the open air. You can buy a ticket with proof that you have been fully vaccinated for at least two weeks, proof that you have just recovered from a corona infection or a negative PCR test of less than 72 hours. Subsequently, the mouth mask obligation and the distance rules will expire at the event for which you have bought a ticket – for example a football match.
Sounds great, but the Pro League is ringing alarm bells two weeks before the effective introduction of the system. “There are still a lot of question marks,” said spokesman Stijn Van Bever. In particular, the discussion about who should check spectators’ identity cards for possession of a Covid Safe Ticket is causing ambiguity. “At first it seemed that the stewards would be allowed to do that, but that is suddenly no longer possible for the government. If separate security agents have to be called in for those checks, it is not feasible. Enlisting enough security guards to check on everyone is going to be an incredibly expensive business. And less is not an option either, because then you create huge queues again.”
“A problem for the entire event sector”
“In itself, the Covid Safe Ticket is a very good idea,” says Van Bever. “We just have to make sure that it is also practical to implement. Otherwise you risk that many organizations will drop out. We have known for a month and a half that we will be working with this system, but two and a half weeks before the actual start, all organizers still have a lot of questions. To be clear, we are not only sounding the alarm for ourselves, but for the entire event sector. It will be difficult at a football stadium, but the same problems will arise at an even bigger event such as a festival or at Spa-Francorchamps. Time is running out.”