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New safety fears mean Newcastle fans may be banned from final 2 games this season – Report

2 weeks ago
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Newcastle fans had positive news after the most recent meeting of the 20 Premier League clubs.

After last month’s meeting it was revealed that the plan was for there to be both home and away fans allowed into the final two Premier League games of the season.

The likely numbers allowed being 10,000 in total, or 25% of capacity, whichever figure is lower. With 10% of available tickets given to away supporters.

For Newcastle United, that would mean the final home game against Sheffield United seeing 9,000 NUFC fans allowed and 1,000 Blades supporters. Then the very final game of the season, around 5,400 Fulham supporters and 600 travelling Newcastle fans.

It was reported that only one club had expressed opposition to the plan for fans to return before the end of the season, with Newcastle supporters automatically thinking the unnamed club had to be NUFC, with Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce afraid of what the fans would be saying from the terraces if allowed into the stadiums.

However, a new exclusive has cast doubt on whether there will indeed be any fans at all allowed into Premier League stadiums this season.

The Mail report that their information is that there was a remote meeting held between the Premier League and safety officers of various PL clubs last week.

The mood of that meeting being that many of the safety officers expressed their opposition to the plan of fans to return before the end of the season, with indeed many clubs reconsidering their positions after time to reflect after the plans were revealed at that meeting last month.

Clubs claiming that more time is needed to prepare for the return of fans and that having a relatively small number of supporters back for only these final two matches is more bother than it is worth. Instead pushing for it to be left until three months later when the 2021/22 season will kick-off.

A lot is made as well of the idea of encouraging away fans to travel long distances and that sending out the wrong message whilst we are still in the early stages of lockdown measures being eased.

The Mail quote one official:

“It doesn’t make any sense.

“If everyone has a home match there is no integrity issue and the logistics will be challenging at best.

“Social distancing may present issues and are we going to ask fans to travel the length of the country in a pandemic?

“Imagine if there was an outbreak related to football.

“It’s more trouble than it’s worth and clubs have made their feelings clear.

“We need more time.”

The report though indicates that the Premier League are set to press ahead with plans for the return of fans and that this is with Government backing. Pilot test events at various sporting arenas set to go ahead before those final two rounds of Premier League matches, including fans attending both the Carabao Cup final later this month and one of the FA Cup semi-finals.

What I would guess is that there will be a compromise and fans will be able to attend the final two rounds of Premier League matches. However, I think the compromise will be no away supporters allowed and also almost certainly limiting ticket sales to home fans who live in the local area, to help limit travel as much as possible.

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