Premier League writes to Government over concerns around delayed return of fans as Newcastle United & Co wait for news

The Premier League has written to the Government to express concern over ‘decisions taken to restrict, and potentially delay’ the return of fans inside stadiums.

Friday, 11th September 2020, 3:49 pm
Newcastle United playing behind-closed-doors earlier this summer.

Test events are now capped at 1,000 supporters following a rise in coronavirus cases nationally and the Premier League has now confirmed they will defer holding further test events ‘until a sufficient number of fans are allowed back to enable thorough trials to take place.’

They argue at 1,000 supporters, there would be little to learn from a test event and each match would be ‘heavily loss-making.’

Clubs across the football pyramid are anxiously waiting for news for when fans will be allowed back in as they battle a loss of income from gate receipts, commercial revenue and sponsorship due to matches being played behind-closed-doors.

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The Premier League state for each month of the season without fans, more than £100million is lost to football across the leagues.

In a statement a Premier League spokesperson said: “The Premier League has written to the government today to express its concern at the decisions taken to restrict, and potentially delay, the planned programme for the return of fans to football stadiums.

“With test events now capped at 1,000 supporters, we believe they will not provide any opportunity to properly test and evaluate measures designed to maximise fan safety.

“Therefore, Premier League clubs will defer holding test events until a sufficient number of fans are allowed back to enable thorough trials to take place. At 1,000 supporters, not only would there be little to learn from a test event, but each match would be heavily loss-making.

“For each month of the season without fans, more than £100 million is lost to football across the leagues, with consequent damage to the local and national economy. It also harms the employment prospects of more than 100,000 people whose jobs depend on matchday activities.

“Our clubs have already prepared test events and can offer larger scale trials to prove it is possible to produce bio-secure, safe environments, as was proved through the successful delivery of Project Restart.

“The Premier League recognises the ambition of the government’s Operation Moonshot and will support the project’s objectives to get fans back into stadiums. However, we believe measures are already available which would allow the safe return of fans and should also be activated now.

“As the government begins its review of the 1 October date for the return of spectators to sport, the Premier League asks that the high safety standards which can be achieved by our clubs are fully taken into account before any decision is taken and that sport is not left behind other industries.”

Newcastle United kick-off their 2020-21 Premier League campaign away to West Ham United on Saturday evening, the match an 8pm KO.

Speaking about his transfer business ahead of the restart, boss Steve Bruce said: “I'm delighted with what we've done but I'll never say never. It's all right bringing people in but we have to let people go as well. It's unhealthy to have so many sitting around like (Henri) Saivet and (Jack) Colback last year. We need to make room."