Clubs wait on more information on how new coronavirus restrictions might affect fans
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Sports clubs across the country are eagerly awaiting more information as social gatherings of more than six people will be made illegal in England from Monday after a steep rise in cases of coronavirus.
From September 14 the law will change to ban larger groups meeting anywhere socially indoors or outdoors. The rules will not apply to organised team sports but it is unclear if fans will be able to attend matches given the new restrictions.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to give further details of the changes at a Downing Street news conference at 4pm on Wednesday.
Norwich City had made provisional plans for a maximum of 8,000 fans to be able to attend their opening home games of the Championship season. The Canaries have been waiting on approval for their first home game of the season against Preston on Saturday, September 19 to be used as a test event for ensuring appropriate health and safety measures are in place. It is understood these plans have been paused by the club until more information is forthcoming although they still hope fans will be allowed back soon.
The government had been cautiously starting to allow some sporting events to move from behind closed doors to having a limited capacity, with sufficient social distancing maintained and measures such as temperature checks and masks being worn by spectators when not in their seats.
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However, it remains to be seen if these plans are put back as a result of the new measures.
Meanwhile, King’s Lynn chairman Stephen Cleeve believes it is financially impossible for many non league clubs to start their seasons without fans attending.
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The Linnets, who start their National League Premier campaign at home to Yeovil on October 3, are still awaiting a government decision on the return of fans.
“The game cannot start without fans,” said Cleeve. “As much as anything else it is for financial reasons. We have to be told soon so that we can start planning and getting our practice runs in to ensure everything is right. We need to know sooner rather than later – last minute is no good to anyone because even as it stands now it is going to be difficult to handle.”
Football fans have been able to attend matches for anything step three and lower and it is hoped some clarity will come whether that will be allowed to continue from the Prime Minister’s address. Previously clubs have had to submit actions plans to the government explaining how they will follow the rules.