FOOTBALL stadiums could be packed to the rafters if vaccine passports get the green light, Michael Gove suggested today.

The Cabinet Minister said Covid certificates would do away with social distancing in the stands and allow clubs to bring back maximum capacity.

A decision on the controversial documents is expected to be made next month – with Mr Gove warning it is currently "finely balanced".

In recent weeks Boris Johnson appears to have cooled on the idea of rolling them out across the board.

Following a furious backlash from landlords he has already ruled out needing them for the pub on June 21's Freedom Day.

But Mr Gove today paved the way for them to be used in tightly-crammed venues such as sports ground, nightclubs and music festivals.

In a lift for fans aching to pour back into stadiums, he told MPs: "We have been looking at every stage at the impact certification may have on the economy.

"If we want to see the restoration of Premier League football, we would want to have, and indeed Premier League teams would want to have, stadia returned to maximum capacity.

"Certification may play a role in that if the alternative was continue with social distancing or crowd capacity limits.

"So in that sense, and that's just one example, where the deployment of certification and investment in that infrastructure would enable the economic and social life of the country to return more quickly and safely."

He also told members of the Public Administration Committee so-called Covid certification could be rolled out in nightclubs – but not pubs.

And although stressing their use would not be tethered to the end of lockdown, he suggested a decision would be made before June 21.

He said: "People have quite rightly linked Covid status certification to stage four. There's no absolute necessary ironclad inviolable link between the two.

"But, naturally, as we contemplate reopening at stage four, people will understandably want to know what our approach towards certification will be and how that will operate."

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