Premier League to ask Government to allow Newcastle fans into St James Park this season
As the situation currently stands, no Newcastle fans will be allowed into St James Park until the 2021/22 season at the earliest.
This week’s road to exit lockdown plan from the Government, provisionally will allow spectators back into outside sporting events as from 17 May 2021, depending on how the virus situation develops.
That is after the weekend when Newcastle are due to play their final home match of the season against Sheffield United.
However, it has raised the possibility that the following weekend, would / could see Newcastle play their final match at Fulham in front of around 5,500 fans at Craven Cottage, with a quarter of capacity allowed (up to a maximum of 10,000 at stadiums of 40,000 and bigger).
Premier League clubs met on Wednesday to discuss the fans returning to stadiums situation.
Amusing to hear the word ‘integrity’ used in relation to anything to do with the Premier League BUT the point has been raised that it could potentially damage the integrity of the competition, if for only one remaining game this season, half the clubs would have the one-off benefit of having a quarter of their stadium (up to 10,000) filled by their fans.
Premier League clubs continue to have discussions around this integrity point and may indeed vote not to have fans back for just that final round of games this season. Indeed, with it looking increasingly likely to be a relegation decider potentially, the Fulham v Newcastle match is being held up as the perfect example of how unfair it would be if the home side has the advantage of fan support for one match.
However, The Times have now revealed that an alternative plan could be proposed.
In their discussions, Premier League clubs have talked about asking the government to make an exception for the return of fans, by shifting the planned date from 17 May to 15 May, which would / could then allow all clubs to have the benefit of one match with some home supporters inside the stadium.
In Newcastle’s case it would be at St James Park against Sheffield United.
It seemed a strange date for the Government to select, football isn’t the only important thing but it is the national sport AND the FA Cup is due to be played on 15 May as well, so as things stand that would have no fans either.
The Times say that talks between the Premier League and Government are continuing, with that request for a change of two days now on the agenda.
There is also another possibility, though unlikely, whereby some Newcastle fans might get into St James Park this season.
Premier League clubs (amongst others) are also preparing applications to have up to 4,000 fans back into earlier matches from mid-April 2021, these will be part of the government’s pilot events programme.
This happened previously with the likes of Brighton having fans in the Amex at a friendly but back then Mike Ashley and Newcastle United showed no inclination to get involved and make any effort to do something that would allow some Newcastle fans back inside St James Park. Very difficult to imagine the NUFC owner will have any intention of changing that approach.
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