Football: Premier League urges government to stick to October date for fans’ return

Football: Premier League urges government to stick to October date for fans’ return

LONDON (AFP) – Premier League clubs on Thursday (Sept 17) urged the government to stick to its proposal to allow a partial return of fans to stadiums from Oct 1.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said last week ministers would review the target date for a return of crowds following a spike in coronavirus cases.

Pilot events are currently restricted to 1,000 spectators.

The English top-flight was forced to finish last season behind closed doors and the new campaign has also started in empty stadiums.

The Premier League and its clubs emphasised their commitment to safety after meeting on Thursday.

“Safety remains the number-one priority and clubs reiterated their commitment to ensuring Premier League stadiums will be among the safest public places, through the effective use of a wide range of mitigation measures,” the Premier League said in a statement.

“Clubs will adopt a range of common standards, which will help deliver bio-secure, safe environments for fans across the league.”

Top-flight clubs stated the loss of matchday revenues was having a “significant impact” across the league and throughout the football pyramid.

“Taking into account the high safety standards which will be set by the Premier League in conjunction with the relevant public authorities, the league and clubs urge government to remain committed to the Oct 1 date for the controlled return of fans to sporting venues,” the statement said.

Seven English Football League matches are set to be played in front of crowds of up to 1,000 this weekend, in the second, third and fourth tiers.

The government granted the EFL permission to use selected fixtures as pilot events to reintroduce spectators to venues on a socially distanced basis.