English Governing Bodies Turn Up The Supporter Pressure

English Governing Bodies Turn Up The Supporter Pressure
The quest for supporters to be welcome within English stadia continues and with a united front now forming, there is a hope but not yet an expectation, that soon the UK government will eventually bow to such pressure. Pressure that has come via a number of different mediums, none more so than a petition that has recently collected as many as 125,000 signatures, as the clamour to ‘Let Fans In’ grows with each weekend that passes.

Clamour that can also be steeped in sizeable frustration, as by now a limited number should have been afforded the ability to cheer their team on and with the October 1st target being pushed back to an unconfirmed date in the future, many will hope that the date is sooner rather than letter.

A date that could not be upheld due to the worsening coronavirus crisis within the confines of the UK and although a number of pilot events were held throughout the EFL in September, they have not managed to hold enough sway at present.

These pilot schemes were deemed to be a ‘success’ and the belief was, it would soon lead to a nationwide opening of doors just a fortnight or so later. However, science does not wait for the fixture computer and those hopes were subsequently dashed.

Which is why a collection of footballing governing bodies have joined forces for their next move and it is a move that comes in the shape of an open letter which states: "(clubs will) consider measures both in the stadium and on the approach that will allay any concerns as to fans' safety".

Measures that would include temperature checks on arrival and a pledge to work "closely with experts and local authorities to model solutions relevant for each stadium to ease pressure on public transport".

Which is arguably the largest sticking point in all of this, as the safe practice of reduced capacity is one thing but the mobilisation of support around the country is another and it is here where the government are showing an unwillingness to bend.

Those who are currently lobbying for a such a bending in regulations, will point to their German counterparts and the sight of support within the Bundesliga or UEFA’s decision to allow 30% capacities for any club or international tournament fixture under their auspices.

At the same time, just because one nation or to a lesser degree continent (only 27 of UEFA’s 55 member nations are permitted to allow supporters at present) can open their doors, does not necessarily mean the same stance can be applied within English football.

Which is why the footballing powers that be, are instead looking to direct comparisons within the country itself and with venues such as the O2 or Royal Albert Hall set to soon welcome paying customers, it is here where the argument regarding sport will be levied.

An argument that needs a loud a voice as possible, as the ramifications currently elude to another six months of fixtures being played behind closed doors and if this is the case, the tense financial strain that is currently being applied throughout the league ladder, may finally buckle once and for all.

This means the UK government may have to decide whether to press ahead with some form of financial bailout, as the current stance eludes to supporters being shutout of stadia until March 2021 at the earliest or if financial aid is not forthcoming, open the doors earlier than first planned.

Ultimately, the game within England is now in a middle of a very delicate balancing act and its fate lies in the parliamentary hands of those who must decide, whether sporting activity can co-exist with the continual health risk the nation faces.


Written by Dan Tracey

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