Play-offs and fans returning is definitely on the cards now
Monday, 3rd May 2021 15:57 by Keith Haynes
As we reported last week the play offs are on the brink of being attended by supporters of all clubs this season. This includes Newport as well who will also compete in the league two play offs if they get a point against already relegated Southend on the weekend.
From a fairness point of view EFL chairman Trevor Birch has made his position clear. Birch who was chairman of the swans before moving to Tottenham Hotspur has a broad knowledge of the strength of feeling in Wales for this to happen. For us here it would definitely assist the swans, as we know the Liberty support is crucial to getting the team over the line. Again, and as we reported last week the Wembley play off final is almost certainly to be opened up for supporters.
Birch said: "We are working collaboratively with the Welsh Government in respect of the potential for supporters to return to Welsh stadia for the EFL play-offs next month and hope that we can agree on an approach that can work in conjunction with the current restrictions in place. The league was delighted to host a delegation from the Welsh Government at Wembley last Sunday so they could see first-hand the processes and procedures implemented as part of the Westminster Government’s Events Research Programme.
"The feedback received was very positive and will help inform the position on both sides of the border as we continue to jointly navigate our way through the various challenges."
The EFL has also moved to ease fears of Swansea or Newport playing against English opposition backed by fans if they cannot welcome supporters to grounds themselves, and accept such a scenario would likely spark questions over the integrity of the competition.
Birch added: "The two-legged play-off matches are hugely significant for both clubs and their supporters and it would be unfair from a sporting integrity perspective to have the support of a crowd at one game and not the other, alongside the financial implications resting on the outcome. Both ourselves and the Welsh Government are in agreement that fans safely returning in numbers to stadiums is crucial for the sustainability of EFL clubs in Wales and we will both be working hard to try and achieve a positive outcome not only in the short-term for those who may be involved in the play-off competition but in the longer-term as we set our sights on returning to full stadiums from the start of next season."
Steve Cooper has welcomed the news said: "I’m not sure about the fan situation, both in England and Wales. "It would be brilliant. I’m assuming all went well at the League Cup final. Hopefully that’s the start of progression of getting fans back into stadiums. "We’ve certainly missed ours and we can’t wait to have them back in. We went into the play-offs last season in good form, but I don’t think there’s a written rule, on whether it’s third or sixth, that you get to the final."
The swans are now firmly in the play offs
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