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DCMS Committee MP warns fans next year before supporters allowed into stadiums

1 year ago

Premier League clubs had been expecting to welcome fans back into stadiums at the start of October.

The Government allowing trials of small numbers of spectators at various sporting arenas throughout September, with the intention that if everything ran smoothly, then October would see numerous sports welcome fans back across the board.

Newcastle United revealed that they had been planning for up to 15,000 fans to be allowed in initially, fitting in with the reported up to 30% of capacity the Premier League were expecting to be allowed.

There was no negative feedback reported from the spectator trials so far this month.

However, the bigger picture has overtaken all of that.

The numbers of virus cases growing substantially and more restrictive measures becoming a certainty across society.

Ahead of an imminent announcement from Boris Johnson, on Tuesday morning minister Michael Gove told BBC News that the plan was ‘paused’ for fans of Premier League clubs (and other teams / sports) to return at the start of October, though didn’t give any indication as to when that ‘pause’ button would be unpaused.

Realistically though, it was never going to be a matter of days or weeks.

However, an MP (Steve Brine), who is a member of the DCMS (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) Committee, has given a tough assessment as to when realistically we will see any fans allowed back inside St James Park or any other football stadium.

Steve Brine speaking to Talksport on Tuesday morning and saying it is all but certain there will be no change until 2021:

“It is very, very possible we will see fans inside stadiums this season [but] it is diminishingly small chances now that that will happen in 2020.

“As much as we love it, as much as we may enjoy going to live sport, it is not essential and it is the social contact that we are probably going to have to sacrifice this year.

“We are not going to be bailing out football clubs that pay stars £600,000-a-week,” he said.

“Of course there was a possibility of getting some fans back and in big football stadiums you can socially distance quite well with your best season ticket holders but it is not about that it, it is about getting to the ground and all the different services around.

“It is the social interaction which as much as we may love it, is not essential.

“I guess it was always inevitable there was going to be a pause on this given the virus stats going in the wrong direction but there is no question the government needs to think about helping lower league football clubs to save themselves and they are going to have to step in.”

Many fans believe that it should be allowed for some supporters to return and that it can be done safely, even with considerations of travelling to get there and the logistics of getting in and out of stadiums etc.

However, what 100% needs to be done is for both the government and the likes of the Premier League clubs to do everything possible to ensure that those clubs in lower leagues do not go out of existence.

Over a billion pounds is set to be spent by Premier League clubs alone in this transfer window, there is the money there to ensure fans lower down the leagues aren’t left with no football club to support.


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