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Boris Johnson announces when fans can return to Premier League stadiums – Friday briefing

4 weeks ago
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At a briefing on Friday morning, Boris Johnson has announced when fans can return to Premier League stadiums, including St James Park.

The Prime Minister stating that  confirmed that providing they pass a series of successful trials, to ensure safety measures, fans could return to Premier League stadiums in October.

The 2020/21 Premier League season kicks off in September, with Saturday 12th expected to be confirmed shortly as the weekend for the first round of games.

This would mean fans potentially back inside St James Park and the other Premier League stadiums, as early as a few weeks into the new season.

Pilots will take place in sports stadiums starting in August.

Boris Johnson stating on Friday 17 July 2020:

“We will pilot larger gatherings in venues like sports stadiums with a view to a wider reopening in the autumn.

“From October, we intend to bring back audiences in stadiums.

“Again, these changes must be done in a Covid-secure way, subject to the successful outcome of pilots.”

Having football back on TV screens has been a positive for most but certainly for match-going fans, watching TV is a very poor second best.

Only a week ago, The Times revealed on 10 July that they understood plans were being put in place for Premier League clubs to try and have supporters back inside stadiums from the very start of the 2020/21 season.

The Times said that as well as the Premier League, the relaxation allowed and supported by the government, would also see fans allowed into EFL matches and other sports, such as rugby union and cricket.

To make it as viable as possible, especially for football clubs lower down the leagues who are overwhelmingly dependent on matchday revenue, they said the government were supportive of trying to allow as many fans in as possible from the start.

The Ruby Football Union said that they estimated that the relaxation to one metre social distancing rule has meant that they could have 40,000 fans inside Twickenham, which holds 82,000.

No reason to think that the report from The Times was anything but well informed, with Boris Johnson now saying they support an October 2020 return, only weeks later than that Times report alluded to.

The Times said that the plans being looked at were for a minimum of 30% of PL stadiums to be filled initially, with the hope though that the actual figure could be as high as 50% of capacity.

So for Newcastle United, that would potentially see as many as 26,000 inside SJP in October 2020, amongst them new owners…here’s hoping.

Their report added that amongst the measures that would / will be put in place are stadiums opening three hours before kick-off to allow fans to safely enter, plus a requirement on all fans to wear masks.

Here’s hoping that football and every other part of society can successfully progress successfully back towards some kind of normality.

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