The ‘chaos’ hanging over Portsmouth and likes of West Brom, Sheffield United, Sunderland and Ipswich Town amid spectre of Covid passports being introduced at short notice

The prospect of Covid vaccination passports are still hanging over Pompey and the rest of the EFL.

Sunday, 10th October 2021, 4:55 am

And Blues chief executive Andy Cullen warned that could lead to ‘chaos’, if steps aren’t taken now to prepare for coronavirus certification being introduced.

Cullen outlined how the scheme could be brought in across the Football League at just seven days’ notice, for stadia accommodating over 10,000 fans.

The government announced last month they have ditched introducing passports, but they could still be rolled out as part of their Plan B if the NHS is placed under intolerable strain.

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Pompey have already had their own ticketing issues this season which led to an apology being issued, but a quickfire introduction of passports would be out of their hands - and is of significant concern to Cullen.

He said: The door still hasn’t closed on vaccination passports..

‘Where we are is it’s still very much part of the government’s plan B situation.

‘In the event the government decide we’re moving to plan B, it means football at any stadium with more than 10,000 supporters will need to be double vaccinated or have a negative test to enter the stadium.

Pompey CEO Andy Cullen Picture: Habibur Rahman

‘The problem is that they can be announced at just seven days’ notice.

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‘Let’s say something happened now, the government could introduce that for our game at Rotherham and you’d need to show proof of vaccination.

‘What we don’t know yet and what the Football League don’t know yet, is it going to be a check on everybody?

‘You could imagine the chaos that might cause, in terms of getting people into the stadium.

‘Is it going to be random checks and you check every sixth person, and they have to show proof?

‘There’s a lot of questions still to be discussed on that run, and that is dialogue which is ongoing.’

Eyes will be on Cardiff City’s Championship clash with Swansea City next Sunday, which will see fans need to show their NHS Covid pass or a negative lateral flow test from the past 48 hours.

Cullen also revealed the notion of loading the passports on to season-ticket cards has been aired, but is fraught with difficulties.

He added: ‘It’s happening in Wales with measures coming into effect for Cardiff v Swansea.

‘Given all the excitement with that fixture, it will be interesting to monitor that.

‘The Welsh government protocols will be different to England, but it will give some good insight.

‘Another idea is could you also load it on to someone’s (season-ticket) card and say they are double vaccinated?

‘You’d know about it when you got to the turnstile, but there would be problems with General Data Protection Regulation, and people’s private medical data being shared with a football club.

‘I think the ticketing companies said it’d be a six or seven-month project to get loaded on to cards. That’s what the league have told us.

‘It could well be introduced, but you could put in a small tent so people get the test and come back with the proof.

‘Does that apply to staff, players and the media, too? All these things are still unknown.

‘I thInk that will all be addressed and it has be, because it can be brought in at seven day’ notice - and we have to be ready for it. The most important aspect of coming to a football match is to feel safe.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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