SINGAPORE - From April 24, up to 750 fans - triple the current limit - will be allowed into pilot spectator sports events approved by Sport Singapore (SportSGG) if they implement pre-event testing for Covid-19, announced the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Wednesday (March 24).
Up to 250 spectators will be allowed for events that do not implement testing. Pre-event tests for spectators must be done no more than 24 hours before the end of the participant's involvement in the event either at the event venue or at a dedicated testing facility or clinic. Only those who test negative for Covid-19 will be allowed into the venue.
SportSG will release further details on the pilot subsequently, added the MOH.
Since live sport restarted last October, several events have allowed a controlled number of fans into venues.
Spectators were allowed for the semi-finals and final of the Feb 22-28 Singapore Tennis Open, with a cap of 250 fans per day, while mixed martial arts promotion One Championship has staged several fights that have been attended by a maximum of 250 fans.
Two hundred fans were allowed into the stands at Our Tampines Hub to watch the season finale of the Singapore Premier League (SPL) between Tampines Rovers and Geylang International in December.
Spectators were required to undergo an antigen rapid test, which can return results in about 30 minutes, before being allowed into the venue for all the events.
Football Association of Singapore (FAS) general secretary Yazeen Buhari welcomed the announcement, saying that it was a boost for the resumption of sports events.
While all games this season have been played behind closed doors, Yazeen added that the FAS has "formulated plans to cater to fans' entry for our matches this season".
He said: "While there is obvious excitement for us to increase the number of live spectators, the health and safety of everyone involved will remain our top priority.
"Hence, the FAS will submit the proposed protocols and procedures to the relevant authorities for approval in order to see football fans back inside the stadium."
Geylang International fan Nas Marjuki, who attended the SPL finale last season, hopes that the league can see more fans returning.
Since the new season started on March 13, the 36-year-old construction safety manager and others from the club's unofficial fan group Ultras Eagles have been cheering the team on from various vantage points around the stadiums while observing safe distancing measures.
He said: "We were able to be there (at the finale) and could see the players properly last year when they finished the season. I definitely hope that SPL is one of the (pilot) events, it doesn't matter whether it's 250 or 750 fans."
The HSBC Women's World Championship, which will take place from April 29 to May 2, could potentially benefit from the MOH's latest announcement.
The tournament's organisers had previously announced that attendance would be limited to corporate guests only.
Following MOH's announcement, it spokesman said that the tournament "will continue to work closely with the Singapore Tourism Board and the relevant authorities regarding health and safety protocols for every aspect of the tournament, including the number of guests permitted to attend".
Members of the public will be informed of any updates through the official event website, added the spokesman.