Wimbledon chiefs focused on planning for reduced-capacity tournament

Wimbledon overview

Wimbledon organisers are focusing their efforts on planning for a reduced number of fans to attend this summer’s grass-court Grand Slam.

The All England Club is committed to staging the Championships, having cancelled the tournament last year for the first time since the Second World War because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Three scenarios previously announced of a tournament held behind closed doors, one with a full complement of fans and one with a reduced capacity are all still on the table, but the latter is the most likely.

A Wimbledon statement read: “Our aspiration is to stage the best Championships possible – a trusted, best practice, safe event – with the health and safety of all guests, staff and competitors remaining our highest priority.

“With five months remaining until the Championships, we are continuing to develop our detailed scenario planning and work closely with the relevant government and public health authorities to keep abreast of the latest developments in the fight against coronavirus.

“The majority of our planning focus is currently centred on the option of a reduced-capacity Championships and how that would affect each stakeholder group, but we are not yet in a position to rule out any of the other scenarios.”

The PA news agency understands organisers are working on different scenarios for what that capacity could be, depending on the public health situation at the time and the need for social distancing.

The club intends to announce a minimum position in April, with the ability to scale up should conditions improve.

What organisers are keen to avoid is the scenario the French Open found itself in last year when, having sold tickets based on hopes of having 50-60 per cent of full capacity, the tournament was eventually played in front of only 1,000 spectators per day.

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