Premier League

Fans could return to football stadiums in September

FA chief executive Mark Bullingham has backed plans to see supporters return in three months

10:48am on Thursday 18th June 2020
Martin Macdonald

Football fans could return to stadiums if it is safe to do so by September, according to FA chief executive Mark Bullingham.

The ongoing pandemic has seen the Premier League and every other elite league in Europe return to playing action behind closed doors with no supporters in attendance due to social distancing regulations.

As the threat of infection has risen and fallen, so has the prospect of fans being allowed back in, with some indications even suggesting it might not happen until 2021.

However this week culture secretary Oliver Dowden said:

“I would really hope that by the return of the new season we might be in a position whereby some fans could start to return to stadiums.

“I know that would be another important part of restoring the financial position of clubs.”

Even though it would naturally be a large gathering of people, which is currently not allowed, health experts have said that because it is outside the risk of infection is reduced compared to people being in close proximity indoors.

The issue remains, however, about travelling and getting in and out of the stadium in large numbers.

After hearing the words from Dowden, Bullingham retains hope that the Premier League can start packing stadiums again for around the start of the new campaign.

“When we look ahead to September, we are hoping we are in a very different situation than we are now as a country, and we hope at some point we can start having crowds back,” the FA chief said.

“We’re looking at loads of options; we’re even getting people to map out what traffic flows [of spectators] look like in stadia, explore what it could look like with one-metre, two-metre social distancing and so on.”

The Premier League had its first two matches since the return of play on Wednesday, with Man City defeating Arsenal and Aston Villa and Sheffield Utd playing out a 0-0 draw.

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