There will be no general admission for spectators at Royal Ascot this year, with the course preparing for a maximum attendance of 4,000 people for each day of the meeting next month.
While the five-day fixture may yet be used as part of a spectator pilot scheme that would potentially enable 10,000 people to be on the course, officials have decided to press on with arranging tickets for those who would be able to attend under the 4,000 cap imposed by the government for spectator sports in England up until June 21.
As such, no tickets will be on sale for the meeting which takes place between June 15-19 with spaces reserved for owners, hospitality, and members at Ascot, including the Royal Ascot Racing Club and annual members.
Spaces in the royal enclosure are set to be determined by a ballot of those who rolled over their 2020 bookings to this year.
In a letter sent to members on Tuesday, Sir Francis Brooke, the Queen’s representative at Ascot, said: “In accordance with step three of the government’s road map, the total maximum capacity for racegoers on all racecourses at this time remains at 4,000 per day.
“There remains the possibility of a larger crowd but, with just a month to go until Royal Ascot, we now need to begin the process to allocate our current permitted capacity.
“It is most regrettable that so many members will be disappointed and I thank you in advance for your understanding, given that the restrictions are beyond Ascot’s control.”
Last year Royal Ascot took place without crowds just over two weeks after racing resumed on June 1 following the stoppage of the sport due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Nick Smith, Ascot’s director of racing and public affairs, said conversations would continue to take place about the size of the crowd for the royal meeting, but that preparation had to be made with the fixture getting near.
“We have been and continue to be in dialogue with government with regards to potential upscaling,” he said.
Brooke stressed in his letter that “the eyes of the world” would again be on Ascot during the royal meeting this year and that adherence to the rules would be crucial for racing continuing to build a rapport with government and the public prior to the planned lifting of all coronavirus restrictions from June 21.
“I am sure that you will all understand how crucial it is that this year’s royal meeting is a safe event and is seen to be so, as the eyes of the world will be on it,” he said. “Success in this respect will help to build government and public confidence as restrictions are gradually lifted.
“Royal Ascot 2021 will unavoidably look and feel different but I would like to assure you that everyone at Ascot is dedicated and committed to ensuring that those who are able to attend have a most enjoyable and safe day.
“Despite these challenges, I am certain that the racing this year will be as brilliant as ever and we can then look forward to Royal Ascot in 2022, the Platinum Jubilee year, which promises to be a unique celebration for us all.”