Government plans hailed as ‘exciting’ as fans returning edges closer

Supporters returning edges closer as the government discuss the possibilities of letting fans back in, in time for Christmas.

The Shay Stadium, Halifax empty ahead of kick off – Brett Poskett

Discussions are well underway between government ministers that could see the phased return of fans in tier one areas by Christmas. All sporting venues have been closed to the public since March due to Covid-19, with the exception being a small handful of stadiums, such as Carrow Road in Norwich, hosting trial events on reduced capacities in September.

Rohit Bains, a staff member at Halifax Town said ”It’s a 15,000 capacity attendance at Halifax so we can easily get a few hundred in, so hopefully it’s just a matter of time which is exciting”.

Halifax Town play in the National League meaning no fans have attended any games since March.

What are the Government’s plans?

The government is in discussion to decide whether small numbers of fans can return to stadiums by the end of the second national lockdown.

The aim is to allow supporters living in tier one areas into stadiums ahead of the Christmas period. Clubs further down the football pyramid have had fans inside, on reduced capacities, since September 2020 but have been forced to close again following the start of the second lockdown.

Video package and interview with Rohit Bains – Brett Poskett

Despite this however, a study we conducted shows that a large amount of supporters still feel uneasy about returning to stadiums in Leeds and surrounding areas by Christmas. 33% of fans say they wouldn’t feel confident at all about returning in time for the festive period.

A graph showing fan opinion on returning to stadiums by Christmas – Vidit Mitra

One fan I spoke to said ”Not at all, why do we need to rush things, there’s so many things more important than ninety minutes at the football on a Saturday’.

Talks will continue with a decision expected soon to see if supporters will be allowed to return by Christmas.

About the Author

Brett Poskett & Vidit Mitra
Brett Poskett - 2nd year university journalism student at Leeds Beckett University Vidit Mitra - 2nd year university journalism student at Leeds Beckett University

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