Premier League releases statement on return of fans to stadiums

The Walks home of King's Lynn Town FC

The Government has been forced to acknowledge the spread of the virus is "now affecting our ability to re-open businesses, conferences, exhibitions and large sporting events".

He said the measures being announced would remain in place for "perhaps six months".

Spectators had been set to return from the start of next month on a socially distanced basis, with capacities set to be limited to between 25 and 35%.

"We are disappointed that the safe return of supporters to matches has been postponed", the Premier League said in a statement.

Most sports in England, including Premier League football, the FA Cup Final, test cricket matches and Formula 1 races, have taken place without fans since March.

The Premier League expressed disappointment and said it was certain, from evidence in Europe, that fans in stadiums could be as safe or safer "than at any other public activity now permitted". "This is starting to have a devastating impact on clubs and their communities".

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But with fans allowed back inside games in small numbers in some European countries, the Premier League has said that the English game can safely accommodate supporters inside stadiums and avoid a financial crisis.

"We need to balance, obviously, the need to ensure that people can continue to work and indeed, critically, continue to go to school to benefit from education, against taking steps to try to reduce the virus, which is why if we can limit, or appropriately restrain social contact, that's what we're trying to do", Gove said.

Low-scale test events at sporting venues in the country, including 2,500 fans attending a preseason friendly between Brighton and Chelsea at the Amex Stadium, have been staged in recent weeks ahead of the anticipated re-opening of grounds at a limit of 30 per cent capacity from October 1.

Sports' governing bodies appeared resigned to the postponement and were preparing a request for more financial help.

The Prime Minister said Dowden was working "flat out" to find a way to keep clubs going, in response to a question in the House of Commons from former sports minister Tracey Crouch about the "perilous" position the sector was in.

"And, with no prospect of a change soon, this threatens the survival of sports organizations and the many livelihoods they support".

The government is expected to ask clubs and organisations how they will be able to cope with playing without fans until next year.

"But what we do want to do is to make sure is that as and when circumstances allow get more people back".

"Having fans at games is of course not only important to the lives of supporters, it is also crucial to the survival of so many clubs who play a crucial role within their communities".

Infections within the squad at Leyton Orient led to the fourth-division club's League Cup game against Premier League side Tottenham being called off on Tuesday. "The government has to listen to fans and football clubs on this one".



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