The UK Government has responded to a petition signed by hundreds of thousands of football fans, demanding the issue of a return to stadiums is discussed.
As expected, it is another brush off for the football community, which has been left angered by images of people attending the London Palladium, some not wearing masks, whilst open-air football events are not allowed. Also, non-league football is allowing small numbers of spectators in, but in League One and Two, it is still not possible, despite the obvious impact on our national game.
Instead of support from our central government, we get this:
“We will take the earliest opportunity to look again at getting spectators safely back into stadia but this must clearly be done carefully against the prevailing health conditions.
“Football clubs form the bedrock of our communities and play a vital role in the local economy. Their importance has been clearly demonstrated throughout the pandemic with clubs at all levels providing incredible support to their area.
“That is why the Government is committed to supporting sports clubs up and down the country, with many football clubs benefitting from the Government’s unprecedented financial support to businesses.
“The Government is fully aware of the importance of getting spectators back into stadia for many sports, and the financial consequences of the decision not to allow this from 1 October. The evidence received from the Chief Medical Officer was very clear that at a time of rapidly rising infections, and when the Government was considering restrictions elsewhere, it was not the right time to undertake any further easements.
“We will continue to work closely with a whole range of sports to understand the latest thinking that might allow spectators to return. This includes the creation of a new Sports Technology Innovation Working Group of sporting bodies and health experts to analyse new technologies which might support this. This will supplement the draft government guidance, and the SGSA supplementary guidance to their Green Guide, which has been internationally welcomed.
“We are committed to getting spectators back into stadia as soon as it is safe to do so.”
Football clubs form the bedrock of our communities and play a vital role in the local economy – yes, they are, So, why is it so unreasonable to ask for some progress on this matter, when we regularly see people attending indoor events? How can Strictly Come Dancing proceed with a ‘socially distanced audience’, but outdoor events such as football cannot welcome one fan in? It is utterly reprehensible and further indication that the UK Government has lost control of restrictions, control and legilslation around the Covid-19 pandemic. The lack of consistency is galling; government advisors can drive for a day out during full lockdown, MP’s can travel on a train with symptoms and get no punishment. Students in Nottingham are found to have breached the rules and get £10k fines – why was Cummings not fined?
Why is it that the events backed by the social elite are seemingly on their way back, whilst the world of football is continually brushed off? The infections are still rapidly rising, as per the Chief Medical Officer’s concerns, but if that is the case why are some events opening and others not? At least we have the creation of the Sports Technology Innovation Working Group which sounds like a lot of hot air and not actual action. What will they do? Realise Gainsborough Trinity can have fans in without a serious rise in Covid-19 cases, but dismiss the data anyway? Will they look at the results of the tests conducted with fans returning in September, or has that been shelved? Who actually knows what they’re doing?
They’ve lost control I’m afraid and if they continue to act in this arrogant and dismissing manner, football clubs will die, despite their empty words of respect.