More than 1,500 artists and venues have signed an open letter to the UK government, while social distancing rules have been broken at Bulgarian and Danish Cup finals…

Let the Music Play

Ed Sheeran, The Rolling Stones and Dua Lipa are among the 1,500 artists to call on the UK government to “act urgently” to help the music industry survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

Artists and organisations from across the music industry have signed an open letter to support the UK Music campaign called ‘Let the Music Play.’

The letter to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Oliver Dowden reads: “With no end to social distancing in sight or financial support from government yet agreed, the future for concerts and festivals and the hundreds of thousands of people who work in them looks bleak.

“Until these businesses can operate again, which is likely to be 2021 at the earliest, government support will be crucial to prevent mass insolvencies and the end of this world-leading industry.”

The letter states that hundreds of redundancies have already been made, with the potential for tens of thousands to follow this year. It also asks for a “clear, conditional timeline” for reopening venues without social distancing, as well as financial support and a VAT exemption on ticket sales.

Austria

Austria is set to allow outdoor events of up to 10,000 in stadia from September with seat allocations, distancing and track and trace systems required for all events.

The Austrian culture and sports minister Werner Kogler also announced indoor events would be able to go ahead with capacities of up to 5,000.

Kogler said that following the initial limit, individual solutions will be decided on a case-by-case basis.

He said: “I imagine that we can try to measure it per stadium – it may be that 12,000 people is less of a problem in one stadium, than 6,000 in another stadium.”

Social distancing

The Bulgarian Cup final saw thousands of fans break social distancing rules, with very few opting to wear the recommended face masks.

The government allowed 12,000 spectators to the game between Lokomotiv Plovdiv and CSKA Sofia, which led to CSKA supporters standing close together.

According to Reuters, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov had ordered Health Minister Kiril Ananiev to attend the match at the 46,340-capacity Vasil Levski national stadium to check whether fans were following health measures.

The referee was forced to halt the game for a few minutes in the second half as spectators lit flares and threw smoke bombs.

Lokomotiv Plovdiv went on to beat CSKA Sofia 5-3 on penalties to win the Bulgarian Cup for a second consecutive year.

Meanwhile, the Danish Cup final was halted after a group of fans broke social distancing rules, which required them to remain at least one-metre apart.

The teams, Aalborg and SonderjyskE, were each given 725 tickets for fans at the final at the neutral 17,128-capacity Esbjerg Stadium.

During the first half, some Aalborg supporters were kicked out of the ground after they grouped together and refused to move.