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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