Newcastle United official announcement – Plans for 15,000 fans to return to St James Park
St James Park will host matches on both Tuesday and Sunday.
However, no Newcastle United fans will be allowed inside the stadium.
The plan was for hopefully Premier League stadiums to be allowed to have some supporters back, as from the start of October.
However, that has been thrown into doubt after the Government this past week diluted trials this month at various sporting arenas where limited numbers of spectators were being allowed.
The Premier League responded on Friday, saying they had written to the Government pleading the case as to why the intended October return of some fans into PL grounds, should be still given the green light.
On Sunday, Newcastle United have made an official announcement (see below), which details their planning for the potential return of fans to St James Park.
As part of their planning, the club say that they had a Zoom call with a small number of fans on Tuesday and that consultation process will be continuing, with discussions as to the best way of managing the return of Newcastle supporters to St James Park, including how tickets should be distributed.
The biggest question of course is how many fans will be allowed in, once the green light is given.
The Newcastle United announcement says that they believe between 10,000 and 15,000 would / could initially be allowed into St James Park.
This is in line with previous reporting on the future return of fans to Premier League stadiums, with 10,000-15,000 representing around 20% to 30% of the St James Park capacity.
Here’s hoping we see this happen sooner rather than later.
Newcastle United official announcement:
‘Newcastle United hosted a virtual meeting with a small group of supporters this week to discuss the potential return of spectators to matches at St. James’ Park.
Following the coronavirus outbreak earlier this year, the Magpies’ final nine Premier League matches of the 2019/20 season and an Emirates FA Cup quarter-final against Manchester City all took place behind closed doors, as did Saturdays 2-0 win at West Ham United on the opening day of the 2020/21 campaign.
While the government is yet to formally grant approval or confirm prospective dates for the return of spectators, the Magpies and other clubs across the country are continuing to undertake detailed work behind the scenes to ensure appropriate procedures are in place as soon as it is safe for fans to be present.
Pilot events with significantly reduced capacities have also recently taken place in the UK, including a recent friendly fixture between Brighton and Chelsea at the Amex Stadium.
Representatives from Newcastle United Supporters Trust, NUFC Fans United, Newcastle Disabled Supporters Association (NUDSA), Newcastle United Supporters Club London and the club’s Fans Forum joined staff on the Zoom video platform on Tuesday evening to hear about the club’s ongoing planning and to offer their own feedback, ideas and questions as the process continues.
The club outlined its expectation that in the early stages of a return for fans, its capacity for home matches at St. James’ Park is likely to be significantly reduced.
Specialist software, data analysis and comprehensive guidance from relevant safety authorities indicate that around 10,000 – 15,000 seats will be available for home supporters, with the final number dependent on agreed seating configurations and the most up to date government guidelines on social gatherings and social distancing.
It is not anticipated that away supporters will be present in the early stages to minimise the risk of Covid-19 spreading.
It is expected that a large number of seats will need to remain unoccupied in order to achieve appropriate levels of social distancing, however the club is analysing ways to maximise seat availability while keeping safety as its absolute priority.
A range of associated subjects were discussed, including fair ways the club could allocate tickets, including a potential ballot for season ticket holders. With a significantly reduced capacity and social distancing an essential requirement, season ticket holders will not be guaranteed their usual seats if they are successful in obtaining tickets, however the club is intending to make best endeavours to allocate seats in equivalent seating categories.
The group also discussed safety and security measures that will help to keep attendees safe, potential changes to available facilities including catering and how the club will be ramping up relevant communications to all supporters both before any tickets sales or ballots and in the build-up to individual matchdays.
The club would like to sincerely thank the supporters who participated in the meeting for sharing their views and for contributing to the ongoing planning process.
The club will be offering further feedback to the group once plans are finalised and comprehensive information will be announced and issued to all supporters in due course.’
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