Norfolk MP tells minister ‘let’s be havin’ fans back into football’
- Credit: Archant
A Norfolk MP has urged the government to allow spectators to be allowed back inside sports venues by echoing Delia Smith’s infamous half-time rallying cry.
Speaking at a parliamentary debate on the issue, James Wild told sports minister Nigel Huddleston ‘come on, let’s be having you, let fans in!”
Last month Norwich City’s joint majority shareholder, Delia Smith, wrote a letter to Boris Johnson urging a rethink.
MORE: ‘Grown-up logic tells us...’ - Delia’s letter to Boris Johnson on behalf of City fansThe MP for North West Norfolk highlighted the financial impact of matches being played behind closed doors on both Norwich City and King’s Lynn Town FC and branded the support funding being offered by the Premier League ‘derisory’.
He said: “We need to let fans back in because the current restrictions are having a major impact on clubs’ finances and threatening their futures.
“King’s Lynn Town FC depends on match day income to survive and while I welcome the funding provided to the National League, it doesn’t make up for the loss of revenue they are experiencing.
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“Norwich City’s accounts published last week showed it had lost £12m due to Covid. Yet the Premier League has only made a derisory offer of £20m for Leagues One and Two, with a further £30m of loans and no support for Championship teams.”
The government has refused to say when it expects spectators to be allowed back inside sports venues in England.
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The sports minister said he wanted it to happen “as soon as it is safe to do so”.
Almost 200,000 people have signed ‘Let the fans back’ petitions calling for spectators to be able to return.
MORE: ‘Didn’t realise how much I missed it’ - Norwich City fans return to Carrow RoadMr Wild said he had been one of the 1,000 spectators allowed into Carrow Road as part of a trial when they played Preston North End in September.
He said: “Fans were asked to arrive in good time, there were temperature and ID checks, in the ground food and drink areas were closed, hawkers brought stuff to your seat, fans were socially distanced and were in the fresh air, and there were staggered exits at the end.
“There has been no evidence of transmission from pilot matches.”
He added: “It’s the impact on the fans, the twelfth player, that’s my major concern.
“Football is not just a game it is much more than that. Clubs are at the heart of our communities. They give people a sense of belonging, of being part of a family of fans.”