Burnside Working Men's Club football team boss admit precautions were 'not strict enough' after charity football game sparks coronavirus outbreak

The organisers of a charity football match have accepted responsibility for a wave of coronavirus cases across Wearside.

A team from Burnside Working Men’s Club in Houghton took on a Burnside Legends eleven last Sunday, August 30, to raise money for men’s health charity Cancer Lads.

A bucket collection at the game raised more than £540 for the cause – but 28 people who attended an event at the club have since tested positive for Covid-19.

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Burnside Working Men's Club football team has apologised on Facebook following a charity fundraising event which saw 28 people become infected with coronavirus

Durham County Council, Sunderland City Council and Public Health England have been working together to manage the public health response and after initially staying open, Burnside WMC announced on Friday, September 4, it would be closed for at least 72 hours.

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Business as usual at Houghton club after customer tests positive for coronavirus
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This weekend, 83 people in Sunderland tested positive for Covid-19.

A statement on the Burnside WMC football team’s Facebook page, signed ‘Tommy’, says: "It is with deep regret and sadness that our charity football match has caused a significant rise in positive COVID 19 cases and tests in the DH4/DH5 area.

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Burnside WMC. Picture: Google Images

"It was a football match planned with the aim to raise money for an incredible charity group that is close to the club’s heart. I would hope people understand that if we knew at the time what we know now, this football match would never have gone ahead.

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“The club have been working with Public Health England, with names and contact details of all involved in the match passed across to the department, to aid in the track and trace process.

“I will admit the precautions set in place were not strict enough. Going forward this will change to ensure any matches played, home or away, will be played in the safest possible way, to make sure something like this never happens again.

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“I’d like to reiterate that this event would never had taken place if we had known back then, what we know now, and the day was planned with the best intentions.

“Again, I personally wish all those effected a quick recovery.”

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Anyone with coronavirus symptoms is urged to book a test via www.durham.gov.uk/coronavirus or https://www.sunderland.gov.uk/get-a-test.

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