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Government makes decision on whether to let fans back in stadiums

The government makes a decision on whether to let fans back in stadiums for the Premier League, EFL and non league 2020/21 season.

For a long while now, we have been left unsure on when and how fans could be allowed through the turnstiles of the beloved clubs once again, for the first time since March.

Well a month ago saw, the government give green light for football fans to start attending football stadiums for the first time since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The plans were placed under review earlier this month after a rise in coronavirus cases, with pilot events restricted to 1,000 people.

Fans at just seven English Football League clubs were allowed to enter through the turnstiles on Saturday afternoon, but under certain guidelines with it being still a coronavirus pandemic.

Fans were also allowed to attend football in the seventh tier and below, after the government updated its guidance on recreational team sport events.

Those in the stands did not need to wear face coverings in their seats but was a must while entering, with areas marked out where fans could sit/stand.

Areas were marked out where fans could sit while face coverings had to be worn while entering the ground, but not in the stadium seats or in the terraces.

However, in the last few weeks, the country Covid-19 alert level has risen to 4, meaning transmission is “high or rising exponentially”, meaning yet more bad news for everyone.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Gove confirmed plans for a staged return of fans would be “paused”.

“We were looking at a staged programme of more people returning – it wasn’t going to be the case that we were going to have stadiums thronged with fans,” he said.

“We’re looking at how we can, for the moment, pause that programme, but what we do want to do is to make sure that, as and when circumstances allow, get more people back.

“The virus is less likely to spread outdoors than indoors but again it’s in the nature of major sporting events that there’s a lot of mingling.

“We do want to, in due course, allow people to return to watch football and other sporting event, but it is the case that we just need to be cautious at the moment and I think a mass reopening at this stage wouldn’t be appropriate.

“I’ve attended Premier League football matches in London and, by definition, you will have on the tube train to the match, in the circumstances around the ground where people are buying food, going through the turnstiles, at half-time and afterwards a huge amount of social mixing and so we do need to proceed with caution.”

It has been claimed by the BBC that the National League will not start its competition until fans are allowed back in to watch games.

Pressure is mounting on the government to provide some financial assistance to professional and grassroots clubs. A letter signed by more than 100 organisations which alerts Boris Johnson that there will be a “lost generation” of sport and activity without intervention.

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The letter states: “We are united in our concern that at a time when our role should be central to the nation’s recovery, the future of the sector is perilous.

“Covid–19 has exposed the fragility of vital services and assets, with sports clubs and fitness facilities facing permanent closure, depriving local communities of facilities and programmes on which they depend.

“Covid-19 has undermined our commercial revenue streams with both stadia and leisure facilities closed or greatly reduced in capacity. The impact of this will potentially lead to a lost generation of sport and activity. In order to play our fullest role, we must survive and stabilise.”

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