Sunderland give major update on season card sales and likely Stadium of Light capacity for the new League One season
Sunderland have announced that they are pausing season card sales ahead of the new campaign.
The Black Cats this afternoon have revealed that sales have passed the 12,000 mark, which is what they expect the capacity of the Stadium of Light to be capped at when supporters are allowed to return.
The Government are currently planning to allow fans back in stadiums from October 1st, with the League One campaign set to begin on September 12th.
Shrewsbury Town revealed in a statement earlier this week that the EFL are lobbying for fans to be allowed to attend League One and Two games from the start as part of the pilot schemes, but whenever they can return, significant social distancing measures will be in place.
Each stadium will have a capacity set in line with its unique requirements and make-up.
Sunderland say that they hope to boost theirs up closer to the 15,000 mark as they consult with the ‘relevant governing bodies’.
Supporters were told when season card sales went on sale that those who purchased initially would get preference in the event that future attendances were capped.
However, it was a fraught process as fans were initially told they be offered a streaming pass, rather than a refund, if any games took place behind closed doors.
The Black Cats eventually u-turned on that decision, with full refunds now on offer if the season begins without spectators.
Further controversy followed, though, when the club announced that refunds for games missed on last season’s cards as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic would not be processed until late August.
Many opted not to renew as a result of all the above.
Sunderland’s statement in full
Comprehensive planning is underway at Sunderland AFC to ensure the club is fully prepared for the start of the 2020-21 season.
Whilst we hope to begin the campaign with supporters in attendance at the Stadium of Light, it is expected that social distancing measures and other safety protocols will be in place when fans return.
Of course, this will heavily impact upon the stadium’s overall capacity and could result in some supporters being unable to sit in their desired location.
The club is continuing to follow SGSA guidance and will work with the relevant governing bodies and supporters’ groups to ensure the matchday experience remains as authentic as possible, whilst also adhering to all of the safety measures set.
With season card sales already surpassing the 12,000-mark, which is in line with the reduced capacity estimated, we have today taken the decision to pause all new season card sales until further notice.
We appreciate that many fans will be disappointed by this news, but we will provide a further update regarding additional sales once further clarification around supporter attendance has been provided.
In the meantime, the club will continue to liaise with the SGSA and the relevant governing bodies, and we hope to boost that estimated figure by 2,000-3000 in the short term.
Finally, thank you for your continued patience and understanding throughout these unprecedented and unpredictable times.
We will endeavour to provide further detailed updates in the coming weeks, and we hope to see you all back at the Stadium of Light once it is safe to do so.