A new day, a new image and yes fans are back! Within days of the #LetFansIn campaign started by Dorking Wanderers and taken on by a good section of the non-league family backed by around 30 MP’s fans are finally going to be allowed back into football from Step 3 downwards.
Whilst this is great news to be heard for all clubs at those levels, there is still a lack of clarity on Tuesday evening as to what levels will be set for how many people will allowed into a ground. Will it be a blanket percentage? Will be capacity specific? Will it be 100-200 maximum per game? Currently there are no answers and I would anticipate that coming in the next couple of days from the FA and clubs can begin to prepare. I have seen tweets this evening from some clubs that are ready to accept fans back in this week, fantastic if they can.
So what has changed then? It appears that what we were all asking about whether non-league football was considered ‘elite’ sport has finally been answered in respect that it isn’t in that classification. The DCMS regulations state stadiums that hold either 10000 plus or 5000 plus are deemed elite venues, which of course from Step 3 downwards a huge majority won’t even fall under the latter, so have the game’s governing body misread or misinterpreted this from the past few weeks?
To me it does look as if they have, and if that is correct then they have cost their member clubs quite a bit of much needed cash over the past three or four weeks. Not that they can redeem themselves too much if this is the case, they do however need to work quickly to clarify the numbers above so everyone knows what they are working towards, a little bit of patience is going to be the key here to allow clubs to feel confident they have enough days to be ready to put things into practise. I think the latest date a club can be aiming for is FA Cup day on 1st September, can you imagine what a Tuesday night that will be if it’s re-opening night for a lot of clubs, just fantastic!
Obviously we would want to be in the stands and on the terraces in the next thirteen days, but we’ve waited long enough, we’ve got our wish to be back and it will happen soon enough. There will be those who still believe it’s not safe for football to re-open, I’ve seen volunteers saying it’s not safe. But if we wait any longer you won’t have a club to volunteer at because it can’t survive with no income to pay the bills, not much of a choice there.
If you as a fan think it’s not safe to attend, thats personal choice and is to be respected, but please remember your fellow fans want to go, they see 300 people allowed to watch a sporting event inside without wearing masks but not allowed outside with less people than that in very open spaces and as science has said less chance of transmission outside than inside so to most there is no logic why football can’t re-open.
I hope that eventually everyone feel safe to go and watch a football match once again, these have been very testing, very hard and very emotional times for reasons none of us could ever have expected to see across the world, better times are coming but we don’t forget those that we have lost over the last five months…………..