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Sports Minister 'positive and optimistic' of 100 percent crowd capacities after October 22nd


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Jack Chambers has hinted that a return to full capacities at sporting grounds could be on the way. 

The Minister of State for Sport was speaking on Newstalk's Lunchtime Live earlier today, as €65million in funding was announced for the Irish sports sector.

However, the Minister also touched on the prospect of an increase in crowd attendances after October 22nd.

That is the date when the government plans to announce further easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

"I'm positive and optimistic we'll see a further increase," the Fianna Fáil TD said.

"I think if you look at the general Covid figures and the huge positivity around the vaccination roll out and I'm positive and optimistic we'll see that reach 100pc.

"But that will be subject to a government decision in the week prior to the 22nd and the IRFU are obviously awaiting that.

"I'm positive and optimistic that we could see 100pc spectators for the November rugby internationals and also Ireland have an important game against Portugal in the qualifiers, I know the FAI would like to maximise the attendances at that as well.

"I think we are seeing that return to some sense of a new normal and that's important that we continue that and I think it's important we see that through to the aftermath of the 22nd."

With the need to provide certainty to sporting organisations and businesses in the lead-up to a return to full crowds, Minister Chambers says the situation will become clearer in the lead up to October 22nd.

"In the aftermath of the budget and during next week we'll be able to five that specific date and when we'll be announcing the further easing of restrictions and the decisions around that for the 22nd.

"But when it comes to stadia I'm optimistic and positive,  we've had a hugely successful return of spectators and the working group we had on that we demonstrated we built confidence in the return of spectators over the last number of months and we're seeing that now at our League of Ireland games, provincial rugby matches and also at our internationals as well, so I'm hopeful we'll be able to scale up to a full return in the aftermath of October 22nd."


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