Sixteenth Report Contents

Instruments relating to COVID-19


Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel and Operator Liability) (England) (Amendment) (No. 15) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/1155)

2.This instrument amends the International Travel Regulations3 to facilitate the travel of domestic elite sportspersons. It allows those who are required to self-isolate because they have been in a Category 3 (“Red List”) country to travel directly to compete in an event in a Category 2 country and to travel back directly to their place of self-isolation. They will still need to complete the Passenger Locator Form (PLF) and possess evidence of a negative pre-departure test. This provision will be of particular help to professional football players, as it will allow them to fulfil their commitments at a domestic and European level, and their international commitments in the run up to the World Cup.

3.Separately, the instrument removes the requirement for passengers to provide their seat number on the PLF as contact tracing authorities now rely on vessel manifest information instead.

Changes to business practice and regulation

Competition Act 1998 (Football Broadcasting Rights) (Public Policy Exclusion) Order 2021 (SI 2021/1148)

4.This Order uses powers under the Competition Act 1998 to allow the Premier League to renew its current domestic broadcasting rights agreements without carrying out a competitive tender process, and without the risk of facing a third-party challenge or regulatory investigation due to an alleged breached of competition law. According to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the renewal of broadcasting rights will enable the Premier League to guarantee until the end of the 2024/25 football season the level of funding it currently provides to English football, including non-professional clubs and community and charitable organisations (the so-called “football pyramid”), at a time when the sport has been left vulnerable as a result of the pandemic. The Department says that the Premier League and its clubs experienced financial losses of approximately £1 billion in the 2019/20 season because of the pandemic, including a reduction in matchday revenues, and that the losses are expected to have continued in the 2020/21 season.

5.The renewal of domestic broadcasting rights without a competitive tender is expected to deliver a minimum of £1.6 billion in funding to the football pyramid over three years, including at least £100 million of additional funding for particularly vulnerable areas of the sport, such as non-league and women’s football. BEIS says that the Premier League requested the intervention, and that the current holders of the broadcasting rights, including British Telecom and Sky UK, were closely involved in the process and support the intervention.

3 Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel) (England) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/568).

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