Premier League and English Football League have both welcomed the UK Government’s decision to allow supporters to return to stadiums next month.
Premier League bosses however iterated that their intentions remain to work with the Government to improve attendances to what they want to be ‘more substantial levels’ with many fans at present still unable to attend matches with clubs operating at a financial loss.
EFL organisers meanwhile are looking forward to some clubs reopening stadiums to fans for the first time since March, albeit capped at 4,000 or 2,000 depending on regional tier restrictions but acknowledged that it is a step towards “addressing the significant revenue gap left by a lack of spectators and other revenue streams as a result of the pandemic.”
Both organisations though are keen to push forward with pilot events of which the EFL successfully undertook in early autumn in conjunction with the Digital Culture Media and Sport committee (DCSM) at various stadiums from Cambridge United’s Abbey Stadium to Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough, plus others which demonstrated that clubs are “well positioned to deliver the safe return of fans.”
Discussions with DCMS and the Government however will continue to be held on developing a roadmap for pilot events to help enable clubs to quickly scale up to larger crowds in line with Coronavirus secure guidelines set out by Sports Ground Safety Authority (SGSA),
EFL will also continue to work with clubs to ensure that all teams “… have the most up-to-date safety procedures in place” which would enable them to quickly welcome supporters back once restrictions within each area are lifted.
Premier League also stated their belief in assisting with the Government’s rapid turnaround testing initiative, saying; “Premier League clubs have a proven track record of achieving high-biosecurity standards and we believe we can play a significant role in the Government’s rapid turnaround testing initiative.”
These statements come just a month after both the Premier League and EFL united with Football Association plus the top two divisions in Women’s Football in an open letter, calling for fans to return owing to the fact that ‘matches can play a positive role in people’s lives’ during this pandemic.