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Football’s message to fans: “Together we will get you safely back into grounds”
Wednesday, 7th Oct 2020 11:39

The Premier League, EFL, FA, Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship have released a joint open letter to supporters reaffirming their commitment to getting fans back into stadiums – and doing it safely.

In The open letter they welcome the Government’s commitment to ensuring that major arts and music venues can run socially-distanced events indoors, and outline a series of measures which would allow football fans to return “in highly regulated and stewarded outdoor environments”.

The Football Supporters Association has backed the open letter:

Kevin Miles, chief executive at the Football Supporters’ Association, said:

“We are completely behind football’s efforts to get fans back in grounds, in a safe and controlled manner, and we welcome this letter. We will continue to work with the authorities to help that become a reality.

“Football clubs across the country have been preparing for a safe return of supporters, and the longer stadiums remain closed the bigger the threat to the very existence of many clubs.”

Further information about what the Football Supporters Association are doing to enable supporters to get back into stadiums and how the supporters themselves can play their part can be found at their website using the link below.

https://thefsa.org.uk/

You can read the full letter below:

Open Letter to Supporters: Together We Will Get Fans Safely Back into Grounds

The Premier League, EFL, The FA, Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship want to assure all fans that together we are fully committed to your safe return to football grounds as soon as possible.

The health of the nation remains our overriding priority, and for many months we have been working with experts to make our grounds as safe as, if not safer than, any other public activity currently allowed. And we are consulting with the Football Supporters’ Association to keep supporters updated every step of the way.

We know attendance at matches can play a positive role in people’s lives during these challenging times. And the past few months have shown how clubs can still feel the support of their fans. Even when you have been unable to get together, you and your clubs have found ways to make a difference in your communities, with clubs delivering food parcels, taking part in phone calls and online conversations with fans, the elderly and vulnerable and moving services and programmes online to make a difference in unprecedented and challenging circumstances.

But we all know football is not the same without fans. Every player and manager is missing the direct connection with you and the impact that you have on our games.

With the EFL, Premier League, Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship already staging 11 successful test events recently, we have demonstrated that we can deliver matches safely. The sooner we can return, the sooner we can reunite communities and support local jobs, livelihoods, regional businesses and also the national economy.

We will continue to urge Government to allow us to return fans safely to stadiums. It is positive progress that major arts and music venues have been told they can run socially-distanced events indoors. And now football should be allowed to do the same – in highly regulated and stewarded outdoor environments.

Additionally, representatives from football are active members of the Government’s Sports Technology and Innovation Group, as well as being involved with their ‘Moonshot’ mass-testing project to open up the economy. And in light of the postponement of test events we will intensify our efforts to pioneer new approaches – working with epidemiologists, scientists and medical experts in areas such as public health, clinical processes and occupational hygiene. This will make sure stadiums are COVID-safe by considering best practice screening and hygiene methods to ensure that fans and the general public will be safe and drive the Government’s sporting plans to move faster.

Stadium environments can be modified and carefully managed. Measures could include screening spectators before they enter the ground, installing temperature checks, requiring masks to be worn, one-way systems and providing a code of conduct for all those attending on a matchday. This will all be bolstered by deep-cleaning practices to help further reduce the risk of virus transmission.

Clubs want to be pro-active on this matter and willing to consider measures both in the stadium and on the approach that will allay any concerns as to fans’ safety. From a travel perspective, clubs will work closely with experts and local authorities to model solutions relevant for each stadium to ease pressure on public transport, while extra parking facilities could be available so a greater proportion of you can travel by private car or bicycle.

We are determined to identify a path forward with Government. We need clarity for our clubs and for you as supporters as to what the roadmap for change in this area looks like. We all know why caution is needed, and we ask Government for consistency in their policy so sport is treated as fairly as other activities currently allowed to welcome spectators.

So, we will continue to urge the relevant authorities to let us, together, use innovative ways to bring fans safely back into football grounds, starting with a return of the test event programme. If we do so, then the benefits will be felt not just by fans but throughout society and the economy.

Signatories:

David Baldwin, EFL chief executive
Kelly Simmons, FA director of women’s professional game
Mark Bullingham, FA chief executive
Richard Masters, Premier League chief executive

Photo: Action Images



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SalisburySaint added 12:05 - Oct 7
Good to see the petition to get this raised in Parliament easily got the 100k signatures required
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ElijahK added 12:52 - Oct 7
I mean I do get/understand why we’re not allowed in stadiums at the moment, as it would make sense as for the crisis we’re in... but it doesn’t and that is simply down to the government’s poor handling of the situation. I mean there’s just been soo much inconsistency with it all, as one second they’re telling us to go to restaurants more, then a minute later are having a go at us! And on the football side, I mean the fact that men’s Sunday leaf adult teams are allowed to go around clattering into each other whilst pushing, pulling or even punching each over (which is certain to spread covid onto one another) is allowed, yet fan’s being kept to social distancing aren’t allowed in a safe stadium environment for home games is just RIDICULOUS and unless changed will cause MANY clubs to go bust! So either the government should basically put us in lockdown again (which nobody wants and nobody will listen too) or they can use their actual brains and be a lot more consistent as how your allowed to do contact sports, be in classrooms, public transport with loads of others well closer than 2 meters, yet can’t social distance at a stadium (which would help out a lot of clubs financial issues) is just stupid!
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saintmark1976 added 13:56 - Oct 7
ElijahK, The government “use their actual brains” ? Rather assumes that they have some in the first place does it not? I suggest that like the rest of us you don’t hold your breath.
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underweststand added 15:08 - Oct 7
There are well-reasoned arguments on both sides, but the real problem isn't safe-distancing INSIDE the stadiums (who could sensibly plan (say) 50% capacity) , but the huge volume of fans travelling to and from games on buses and trains where contact would be both inevitable and unavoidable. It might seem less of a problem going to SMS, but the larger stadia in London, Liverpool and Manchester would create a major pandemic on their own with tens of thousands coming into close contact with each other even simply buying refreshments, or queueing for toilets.

Hopefullt a sensible solution can be reached but meantime many clubs will lurch towards bankruptcy if they cannot service the obvious debts they are incurring without income.
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ElijahK added 15:15 - Oct 7
Saintsmark, don’t worry I’m not, it’s just simply the fact of how how dump some of there rules are when you compare them to what they’re allowing to happen, hence the “if they use there brains”
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SaintBrock added 19:09 - Oct 8
Sell tickets only to under-50's then if they all catch C19 it won't matter a long as they stay away from Grandma 'though.
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SaintBrock added 11:23 - Oct 9
What must be at the back of people's minds in government is not the 2m safe distancing rule being workable inside stadiums as clearly it will be but what happens before and after fans are in the ground.

With C19 again spreading rapidly clearly the government strategy is to discourage large uncontrolled social gatherings of people. Think 'football fans', think "discipline" and there in a nutshell is the incompatibility at the heart of the decision making.

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Letters from Wiltshire #09 by wessex_exile
Letters from Wiltshire #08 by wessex_exile
Lots of discussion this week on football forums, including here, on two subjects – the petition to lobby parliament to allow limited numbers of supporters back into football grounds, and of course the return of that old chestnut from Man City Chief Executive Ferran Soriano, introducing Premier League ‘B’ teams into the EFL. First off, I don’t mind admitting I’ve signed the petition ( https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/552036 ), as have 192,779 others at the time of writing, though I don’t actually think it’ll make any difference. I can completely understand why some do not think this is a good idea, as second-wave spikes of coronavirus infection pop up all over the country (mainly because – let’s face it – some people are dicks and can’t be trusted to sit the right way on a toilet). But to me, the two go hand in hand (not dicks and toilets) – whilst football clubs throughout the country struggle financially without spectators, we are always going to be under threat of this sort of ‘B’ team nonsense as a condition of financial support from the Premier League fat cats. They got their way in 2016 with the EFL trophy, who’s to say they won’t again when the financial squeeze really starts to tighten its grip without paying customers through the turnstiles? Robbie has featured prominently in this debate in recent weeks, and looks like he will again on Sky tomorrow if this tweet from Sophy Ridge is anything to go by -
Letters from Wiltshire #07 by wessex_exile

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