Thursday – Government make new statement on football fans returning to stadiums
The Government have made a new statement on the burning issue of football fans returning to stadiums.
The new statement has followed a petition which quickly gathered almost 200,000 signatures, that petitions stating: “Allow football fans to attend matches at all levels.”
Other European countries have allowed limited numbers of fans back into grounds, whilst this month’s international matches also saw supporters attending, if local authorities permitted it.
In this new Government response, the statement reads: ‘We will take the earliest opportunity to look again at getting spectators safely back into stadia but this must clearly be done carefully against the prevailing health conditions.’
As the petition passed 100,000 signatures, that triggered the Parliament’s Petitions Committee having to consider whether a debate should now follow in Parliament on the issue.
Last week, the committee confirmed that this will be the case, with Monday 9 November 2020 pencilled in for the debate.
The Petitions Committee is made up of 11 MPs, from political parties in government and in opposition. It is entirely independent of the Government.
Whether this latest Government response ahead of the debate in Parliament offers any positivity, is questionable.
Yes they want to have fans back in stadiums as soon as possible but no chance of allowing it to happen any time soon, would appear to be the message.
Government statement in response to the petition and ahead of the parliamentary debate:
‘We will take the earliest opportunity to look again at getting spectators safely back into stadia but this must clearly be done carefully against the prevailing health conditions.
Football clubs form the bedrock of our communities and play a vital role in the local economy. Their importance has been clearly demonstrated throughout the pandemic with clubs at all levels providing incredible support to their area.
That is why the Government is committed to supporting sports clubs up and down the country, with many football clubs benefitting from the Government’s unprecedented financial support to businesses.
The Government is fully aware of the importance of getting spectators back into stadia for many sports, and the financial consequences of the decision not to allow this from 1 October. The evidence received from the Chief Medical Officer was very clear that at a time of rapidly rising infections, and when the Government was considering restrictions elsewhere, it was not the right time to undertake any further easements.
We will continue to work closely with a whole range of sports to understand the latest thinking that might allow spectators to return. This includes the creation of a new Sports Technology Innovation Working Group of sporting bodies and health experts to analyse new technologies which might support this. This will supplement the draft government guidance, and the SGSA supplementary guidance to their Green Guide, which has been internationally welcomed.
We are committed to getting spectators back into stadia as soon as it is safe to do so.
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’
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