A petition to allow fans to attend football matches at all levels in the UK has been launched, gathering over 157,000 signatures so far.
The petition, which has the backing of the Football Supporters Association, aims to get the UK Government to reconsider its decision not to allow fans into football stadiums for at least the next six months.
The decision came as a blow to many clubs across the football pyramid when it was announced in September, in part due to a worrying rise in the number of Covid-19 cases being recorded across the country. However, the decision has left many clubs in the lower leagues struggling economically and facing an uncertain future, as for many, the main source of income comes from matchday revenue.
Nine clubs in the EFL held successful pilot games in September, which saw up to 1000 fans attend each game, whilst clubs at all levels have invested heavily to ensure a safe environment in anticipation of a return. With the current season underway, clubs are playing behind closed doors, but the financial burden of doing so means many may not survive the full season despite the promise of Government backing for non-league clubs.
In addition, the businesses that surround clubs on matchdays are also likely to fall away if there is no return of fans soon. With the measures in place at football stadiums, and the success of the test events, now is the time for a reconsideration by the UK Government, whose Test & Trace system is now up and running and could help to mitigate any further outbreaks of the virus.
Aaron Gourley, editor of fcbusiness, said: “Here at fcbusiness, we are placing our full support behind this campaign. We believe that football plays a hugely important role in the UK economy, as well as other benefits to the nation. Fans are the lifeblood of clubs up and down the football pyramid, and without them, many clubs will simply not survive the season.
“We are aware of the devastating impact the Covid pandemic has had, both in terms of the health of the nation and the economy. The rise in Covid-19 cases is something that is a worry, but football clubs have poured huge resources into ensuring a safe environment for fans, whilst contact tracing can be easily achieved given the hugely detailed information that clubs hold on their fans in addition to the Government’s own system.”