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Crowds Could Be Limited For Entire 2020/21
Tuesday, 28th Jul 2020 09:58

The entire 2020/21 football season could be played in front of limited crowds, a Government advisor has warned, with chanting and shouting seen as potential safety concerns.

Last week, it was confirmed that the Premier League and EFL campaigns would start on September 12th with prime minister Boris Johnson having previously said that the hope is that fans will be able to return to grounds in October.

Sunday saw the first in a series of pilot events aimed at bringing crowds back to sporting arenas in reduced numbers as Surrey took on Middlesex in a county cricket friendly at the Oval in front of 1,000 supporters.

Further pilot events are taking place this week at Edgbaston when Warwickshire will face Worcestershire, the World Snooker Championship at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield and the Goodwood horse racing festival.

However, Professor James Calder, the chair of a working group made up of government and health officials, says he doubts venues will be back to their full capacity before the end of the year and says that may remain the case for the whole of 2020/21.

"I would be very surprised if we could get full stadia back this year. Realistically I think it probably will need a vaccine and also a high take-up rate of that vaccine before we can really see full capacity stadia,” Professor Calder told BBC Sport.

“I think realistically we will be under scrutiny for the next year, certainly this side of Christmas and probably for the rest of the season.”

Professor Calder also says experiments are taking place to address whether chanting and singing can spread the coronavirus: "We need to know, actually, does it matter if you're shouting, how far will those droplets spread?

"At a football or a rugby match, the fans are going to be shouting and chanting and singing, I hope, and we need to be sure that the people in front of them are as safe as possible.

"Now if there is no massive droplet spread, well OK, we can keep within the social distancing that we've put down for, say, the Crucible and the Oval. But if it is a problem, then we need to rethink the social distancing within the stadia, and that becomes very difficult.”

Asked whether it was possible that sports where chanting is more likely could see crowds kept to more limited levels, he added: "Perhaps, I hope that's not going to be the case. But I think we need more information on it, and it's certainly something that we're conscious of.”

Yesterday, Town asked season ticket holders - the only fans who are likely to be able to attend matches at Portman Road in the opening months even in the best case scenario - to complete a survey as part of their preparations for the return of supporters.

The Blues have a little under 9,000 season ticket holders, all supporters who renewed from last year, three quarters of the 2019/20 total. Season tickets have not been put on sale to those without one last season. Portman Road currently has a capacity of just under 30,000.

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Pencilpete added 10:14 - Jul 28
Our crowd sit in a coma for most of the game anyway so cant see this being a problem for us

Chrisd added 10:29 - Jul 28
Just hope it's not the ones with the huge expectancy levels that are allowed to watch, we don't want that burden weighing heavily on our player's shoulders all of next season!

cleggo added 10:41 - Jul 28
we've been playing in front of limited crowds for the past 10 years already...

BangaloreBlues added 10:57 - Jul 28
I feel very sorry for the clubs with small stadiums, standing areas, and small crowds. Many of them will not survive unless huge funds are provided to keep them afloat.
And from that I'm still often ashamed of many of our supporters who are never thankful for what we have. We're going to see many "Bury FCs" over the coming season unless something is done.

Bergholt_Blue added 11:06 - Jul 28
Season ticket holders only then

ArnieM added 11:14 - Jul 28
Yes BB I think this is very likely outcome for this season .

TractorRoyNo1 added 13:43 - Jul 28
Might have bigger crowds than Nobitch next season

sydneytown added 14:16 - Jul 28
Have a feeling a lot of fans will follow non league football and may not return hope im wrong

blues1 added 14:58 - Jul 28
Sydney town. But nonleague clubs will also have to social distance their fans, so wont be that many watching it.

sydneytown added 15:16 - Jul 28
Very true but think will be ok watching local football around suffolk

PackwoodBlue added 16:46 - Jul 28
There's more chanting and singing at an Oval Test Match than there is some weeks at PR.

BeattiesBackPocket added 17:13 - Jul 28
I don't know what some fans are on about I've been a season ticket holder at Ipswich for years and through thick and then the chanting a been there even the season we got relegated to our lowest point it was still there!? I'd suggest some on here don't go if you think different and just listen on the radio! Expectancy is there yes when we have the 6th richest owner outside the premier league a club steeped with history of two former England managers and some great football witnessed in the 80's and even under Burley there will be expectancy if you don't expect us to challenge each season in league one at the very least I'd say the issue lies with that supporter

Bluearmy_81 added 18:00 - Jul 28
Having aims, dreams and ambitions for your club, driven by passion and pride are part of what it is to be a football fan BBP. Sadly some here think existence, in whatever, sorry, irrelevant league is good enough. Fans should also stand up for their club when it is being damaged and harmed, not blindly back the cause unquestionably, it beggars belief!

Edmundo added 19:47 - Jul 28
I think football, due to its high profile will get no wriggle room. Been at a big national theme park today (operated by Merlin) and it was a farce: 75% not wearing masks anywhere, half of the rest using them as chin warmers, definitely as busy as possible. And their version of "deep clean" was a spray of disinfectant and a wipe with blue roll.
Not saying there's anything crazy with that approach, but you can bet if it was like that at even a small league ground, the media would be all over it.

GeoffSentence added 19:59 - Jul 28
If chanting and shouting is an issue, we should at least be able to fully open the Sir Alf Ramsey stand

Bert added 23:15 - Jul 28
Why wouldn't a committed ITFC supporter want the best for their club ? A sense of belonging, the noise and passion are why most of us still attend. That's what the great Bobby Robson said and that's what I feel irrespective of who is our manager and owner. We can control some things but through our own positive commitment and attendance we can influence a lot and that includes how the club goes about opening up the stadium safely for those those wanting to attend. Keyboard negativity rarely wins but making a noise at the game is heard.

Gcon added 11:57 - Jul 29
Curious that this site won't allow comments on Waghorn praising McCarthy story...

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