MP boosts hopes for football fans being allowed back into stadiums

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden raises hopes for football fans being allowed back into grounds after lockdown as he says cancelling ‘performances’ in the arts until April is NOT Government policy

  • MP Oliver Dowden has spoken out on the situation with fans attending games 
  • The Secretary of State for Media, Culture and Sport says he’s ‘working on it’
  • Dowden insists talk of cancellation until April is not Government policy 
  • Fans have not been inside football stadiums as normal since early March 

The Secretary of State for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport has handed football supporters hope that a return to the stadiums is not far away.

Conservative MP Oliver Dowden has spoken out on the topic this week via social media, to offer reassurances that plans are in place and being worked on.

Dowden took to Twitter to put straight rumours of live performances being without spectators until April 2021.

Football fans have been handed hope that they could soon be back inside the stadiums

Writing on his official account, Dowden said: ‘Rumours of performances being cancelled until April is not govt policy. 

‘We want performances back on as soon as we safely can I have heard calls for a restart date with fuller audiences & am working on this. 

‘Certainty is hard in a pandemic but know this is important for planning.’

Some fans immediately responded with confusion, with one Twitter user posing the question: ‘Is this the same for football?? Why can I watch a pantomime inside but not a football match outside?’ 

Football supporters have been away from stadiums since early March, when the UK made its first lockdown reaction to the rapidly growing coronavirus pandemic. 

Since March the only people in the stands have been substitutes, coaches and limited media

Fans have not been seen inside the grounds in their full and normal capacity since Liverpool’s Champions League clash with Spanish opposition Atletico Madrid on March 11.

Stadiums had been initially due to reopen for some fans from October 3 but fresh Government restrictions saw the idea swept aside at the last moment.

A new batch of national guidelines were introduced in early November as England went into a second lockdown following a steep rise in transmission cases.

Football fans are growing increasingly frustrated, leading to the creation of the ‘#LetFansIn campaign’ which has gained heavy traction online.

One supporter, Ashley Greenwood, set up a petition which received over 200,000 signatures and it is now being debated in Westminster.

Prior to a second lockdown Germany has piloted a system of socially distanced supporters

In late October the Football Supporters Federation came down hard on the trialed concept of some fans being allowed back inside their team’s stadium, only to watch the match on television.

Norwich, Millwall and Hull were among the clubs who allowed spectators to attend screenings of their home fixtures from hospitality areas inside their grounds.

Bristol City and Middlesbrough also televised home matches from suites at their stadiums, with curtains drawn to block fans from any view of the pitch. 

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