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Fans Could Be Back in October
Friday, 17th Jul 2020 12:08

Fans could be allowed back into football grounds by October, according to prime minister Boris Johnson.

At a news conference at Downing Street this morning, Johnson said: “From 1st August we will pilot larger gatherings in venues like sports stadia with a view to a wider reopening in the autumn.

“From October we intend to bring back audiences in stadia in a Covid-secure way subject to the successful outcome of pilots.

“Again, these changes must be done in a Covid-secure way, subject to the successful outcome of pilots.”

Currently, games are being played behind closed doors with just 300 players, staff, personnel and media present.

Two county cricket friendlies, one the Surrey-Middlesex fixture at The Oval on July 26th and 27th, the World Snooker Championships at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre from July 31st and the Goodwood horse racing festival on August 1st are among the pilot projects.

In a statement released last week, the EFL outlined its work towards getting fans back on the terraces: “The EFL is working with the SGSA [Sports Grounds Safety Authority] on a joint project looking at the impact of applying social distancing to football stadia.

“As a result, work is ongoing at Charlton Athletic and Cambridge United that involves modelling the crowd dynamics of two very different football grounds.

“This will help us measure the potential impact on stadium capacity and better understand how clubs will need to adjust their matchday operations so that as many fans as possible can be admitted in a safe environment.

“The help and support provided by both clubs has been invaluable and will inform future guidance that will go to all clubs once the Government gives the green light for crowds to return to matches.

“At this stage we do not know when that will be but we continue to prepare for such an outcome.”

Even if fans are admitted to grounds as soon as October, it’s likely that numbers will be limited with previous reports suggesting stadia could be 25 per cent or one-third full.

Town currently have a little under 9,000 season ticket holders with Portman Road's capacity these days just short of 30,000.

Other previously reported proposals which would allow fans to return reportedly include a ban on away support, toilets being closed at half-time and refreshments - potentially including alcoholic drinks - being brought to fans in their seats to avoid numbers congregating on concourses.

As yet there is no date set for the start of the 2020/21 season but Saturday 12th September appears most likely.

Photo: Action Images

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Bergholt_Blue added 12:36 - Jul 17
How are we going to social distance in the stands and concourse? I fear a 2nd wave coming

BangaloreBlues added 12:47 - Jul 17
Most League One and Two sides will not survive.
Either all fans will have to wear a mask, which I am not doing, and then the crowd noise will be muffled and very strange, or people will have to sit apart leaving most stadiums only allowing a 25% capacity.
If it carries on, there will only be two-tiered football left in England.

Cheltenham_Blue added 12:55 - Jul 17
Bergholt Blue.

If there's only 1/3rd of capacity allowed in stadia and no away fans then social distancing in the stands is hardly going to be rocket science.

I suspect it will be like boarding an aircraft, with sections admitted strictly between set times only.

Chrisd added 13:30 - Jul 17
October will be when the L1 and 2 seasons will start.

mike added 13:35 - Jul 17
There are going to be a lot of cross legged fans with the toilets closedown?

slade1 added 13:42 - Jul 17
If its come from Boris's mouth then it must be lies

Wallingford_Boy added 14:18 - Jul 17
Thats not good news at all. Was hoping for limited fans from the start. but sounds like empty stands for a month, with no news on full access again. So I assume that'll be 2021.

DebsyAngel added 14:38 - Jul 17
Not going to be going back until there is a vaccine or cases are scarce. I cannot wear a mask (please don't judge, it is legitimate medical reasons and I have tried), and the thought of going back into that atmosphere described is a no no for me. I am hoping there will be a stream online that season ticket holders can tap their number into and watch that way.

dirtydingusmagee added 17:20 - Jul 17
well fans will be back, but may be in cardboard cutout form .

Wooly74 added 17:57 - Jul 17
Slade1, it could be worse it could have been Corbyn 🤦‍♂️

He couldn’t lead a duck to water!

Blue041273 added 18:42 - Jul 17
This might work for cricket but it will be a disaster for football! Spontaneous celebration will be non existent if the closest person is two seats away! While it will be great to get back in the stadium again I suspect it will be quite joyless particularly if we happen to be losing!

PSGBlue added 21:43 - Jul 17
Surely 9000 fans is based on all individuals being strangers to each other, therefore maximum social distancing etc. But can’t the club offer various sales of 2 or even 3 seats together. These can be allocated to members of the same family. This could increase the capacity.

coolcat added 21:45 - Jul 17
I always travel from London on the train. It's out for me unless easing of restrictions on public transport are lifted or non-essential travel allowed. I also agree with a few of the above regarding vaccines or much lower level of transmission.

At the moment Greater Anglia are advising travellers to have a back up plan in case the train you get on has reached its 'social distancing' capacity. They're not doing reserve seating. I don't have a car and there are no National Express buses going to Ipswich for the forseeable future. I may have to watch it livestream on ifollow until transport eases restrictions which may be early next year, who knows. Restrictions and easing of them out of our hands.

KiwiBlue2 added 00:40 - Jul 18
Take care everyone. In this part of the world we have seen Melbourne in the past week or two reap the 'rewards' of opening up too early with the virus coming back with a vengeance to the point where they have had to impose another Level 4 lock-down. Thankfully in NZ we have not had a community transmission case for almost 3 months but some people coming back in to NZ have tested positive while doing the 2 weeks isolation.

Michael101 added 09:18 - Jul 18
Will the team's that did not what to play with no fans want to play in September with out any fsns??. Looks like the season might not be starting in league 1/2 for a while yet .

Edmundo added 11:12 - Jul 22
@coolcat, aren't we allowed to sit closer now that masks are compulsory? There's no limits on tube trains are there? And buses round here (Cambridge) are definitely getting more full. Masks for all though, until we get to "lemon and herb"> :-)

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