A Premier League statement has been released after it was announced that fans will not be reintroduced to stadiums from October 1 in the UK as planned, as the PL “will continue to work with government to bring supporters safely back into grounds as soon as possible.”
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Amid a steep rise in COVID-19 cases across the United Kingdom the government have halted plans for fans to return to stadiums from October 1.
Premier League fans haven’t been allowed in stadiums since play was suspended in March, but test events in the Championship, League One and League Two have been held in recent weeks with 1,000 fans in attendance.
The UK chief medical officer has said COVID-19 cases could climb to 50,000 a day if the current trajectory isn’t stopped, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed a raft of new restrictions to try and stop the spread of the coronavirus in the UK and said it is now focusing on a six-month window across the winter months.
Here is the Premier League statement on fans not being able to return.
“The Premier League notes the Government’s announcement today and while the health of the nation must remain everyone’s priority, we are disappointed that the safe return of supporters to matches has been postponed. The Premier League is certain that, through League-wide guidelines and a code of conduct developed with scientific experts and agreed by the Government’s Sports Ground Safety Authority, fans in stadiums will be as safe or even safer than at any other public activity currently permitted. This is already evident in other European leagues.
“Football is not the same without attending fans and the football economy is unsustainable without them. Last season, Premier League clubs suffered £700m in losses and at present, our national game is losing more than £100m per month. This is starting to have a devastating impact on clubs and their communities. We are confident that Premier League clubs, using innovative ways to get supporters safely back into grounds, will enable revenues to return to all levels of the game, as well as maintain solidarity arrangements, current tax contributions and financial support for local and national economies.
“While there is a current pause in a date for fans returning to sports venues, the Premier League and our clubs will not slow down in our preparations for providing safe, bio-secure environments. We will continue to work with Government to bring supporters safely back into grounds as soon as possible.”
The fact that the UK will postpone fan reintroduction will hit the Premier League financially but it will hit the lower leagues harder. Clubs in the third and fourth tiers rely heavily on fans paying for tickets and they will now need big help from the football and government authorities in the UK to try and stay afloat in the coming months.
For now, Premier League fans will be eagerly await the next update from the UK government.
With fans being allowed back into stadiums in limited numbers in Germany, and elsewhere in Europe, this news was slightly unexpected but right now the situation changes week by week.