Cardiff City, Swansea City and Newport County told 'next 48

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Cardiff City, Swansea City and Newport County told 'next 48

Postby Forever Blue » Wed Sep 16, 2020 4:43 am

Cardiff City, Swansea City and Newport County told 'next 48 hours critical' amid warning over fans' return

Government officials remain in talks with football's governing bodies over the possibility of fans returning to matches in the near future

16th SEP 2020

There is a push to allow Cardiff City and Swansea City fans back inside stadiums by September
Cardiff City, Swansea City and Newport County have been told "the next 48 hours are critical" when it comes to the possibility of fans returning to stadiums.

Supporters have not been allowed to attend EFL matches since March owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, it was hoped that some fans would be allowed to watch games live as of October 1 as part of a process that would see supporters gradually return to the terraces.

But given the recent spike in coronavirus cases in the United Kingdom, government officials are holding fresh talks with football's governing bodies over how best to allow fans to return.

And the EFL's head of policy John Nagle has written to the 72 member clubs - including the Bluebirds, Swans and the Exiles, setting out what happens next.

"We now understand that the next 48 hours are likely to be critical in terms of determining the direction of travel on this issue," Nagle wrote in a letter which has been seen by the PA news agency.

"Amongst other things, this will include a meeting between the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden MP and senior administrators from across sport, which will be attended by EFL chairman Rick Parry."

The letter states that EFL clubs will make a collective loss of £200million if fans do not return in the 2020-21 season, and have already lost £50m in gate income from last season.

"Failure to (allow fans to return), or to at least provide any credible roadmap back to the return of fans in the near future, could have catastrophic consequences for many football clubs and the communities they represent," the letter warned.

The EFL said on Tuesday it remains in talks with the government over staging pilot events - which are now limited to a maximum capacity of 1,000 - this month.

An EFL spokesman said: "The league is clear in its view that social distancing can be applied safely in football stadia and that having crowds at matches is an absolutely essential part of helping to protect club finances, which remain under extreme pressure.

"Therefore, the successful delivery of further pilots will be an important step towards getting larger number of fans into grounds safely.

"The EFL will continue its dialogue with DCMS and the SGSA (Sports Grounds Safety Authority) to ensure that evidence and insight secured from these events helps to inform the government's position on welcoming back supporters post October 1."

Cambridge's Sky Bet League Two fixture against Carlisle last Saturday had been earmarked as a pilot event capped at 2,000 capacity prior to the change in policy. However, the match had to be played behind closed doors when the 1,000 cap was imposed, because of concerns over fans attending with invalid tickets.

The Premier League has said its clubs will not participate in pilot events while capacity remains limited to 1,000, stating such events would be "heavily loss-making".

It has written to the government urging it not to delay the return of spectators beyond October 1.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said last week that if capacities are capped at an average of 25 per cent for the whole of this season, his clubs would lose £547m.

He also said talks with the EFL over providing it with additional funds were continuing.

It comes after Cardiff had their request for 10,000 fans to be allowed to attend their Championship season opener against Sheffield Wednesday rejected.
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Cardiff City, Swansea City and Newport County told 'next 48


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