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England: No spectators allowed at St Leger Festival from Thursday

Last updated 1 month ago | By Reuters

The spike in COVID-19 infections has caused panic in the sporting world. [AP Photo/Charlie Riedel]

Fans will not be allowed to attend St Leger meeting at Doncaster from Thursday, following instruction from local health authorities, organisers said on Wednesday.

Tough new lockdown restrictions on social gatherings across England are to be announced on as Prime Minister Boris Johnson tries to control a spike in COVID-19 infections.

The Arena Racing Company (Arc), which operates the Doncaster track, has confirmed the remainder of the four-day meeting will be held without spectators.

"The race meeting will continue on a 'behind closed doors' basis, as per all other race meetings currently taking place in Britain," said Mark Spincer, the managing director of Arena's racing division.

"This pilot event represents a hugely important step not just for our business but for the whole of British racing as well as the sports and hospitality industries as a whole.

"We do, of course, fully understand and respect the decision and will be contacting all of our customers booked for the remaining three days as a matter of urgency."

The Town Moor horse racing venue welcomed around 2,500 fans to Wednesday's opening day amid uncertainty over new government rules.

It is the first crowd at a British horse racing event since the novel coronavirus lockdown, as part of a government pilot scheme for sporting events. 

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