English football fans 'could be back inside stadiums by October'

English football fans ‘could be back inside stadiums by October’ as lower league clubs hope to fill 25 per cent of their stadiums in bid to raise cash

  • Lower league clubs are said to be hopeful of allowing in small crowds in October 
  • The coronavirus pandemic has prevented clubs from earning matchday revenue 
  • Reports claim that discussions have taken place capping crowds at 25 per cent
  • The push for the proposals is said to be mainly coming from clubs in the EFL 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

A number of clubs struggling financially in England are reportedly hopeful of allowing small crowds to attend their games as early as October.

The coronavirus pandemic called an early halt to the campaign – with lower-league teams taking the hardest blow due to the lack of matchday income. 

But according to The Sun, discussions between safety officers and Covid-19 officials focused on allowing in crowds capped at 25 per cent may hand clubs a much-needed lifeline.

Lower league clubs in England hope they can welcome smaller crowds as early as October

Discussions have reportedly taken place over allowing crowds capped at 25 per cent capacity

The push for the proposals is believed to be mainly coming from the EFL, with many clubs across League One and Two – as well as the National League – typically attracting less than full capacity attendances. 

Clubs able to allow in a quarter of their stadium’s full capacity would generate revenue, while spectators would also be able to adhere to social distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of the disease. 

A couple of Championship outfits are said to be supportive of the concept too. 

Those who welcome larger crowds for their fixtures would be faced with a dilemma, however, due to the potential selective nature of smaller crowds.

The push for the proposal is reportedly mainly coming from the EFL and the National League

Premier League teams may also be able to implement the scheme – although it may fail to receive sufficient backing and could prove difficult to organise for the larger venues on display in the top flight. 

The Sun report that the idea has also been discussed in Scotland, due to the nation’s larger clubs attracting smaller crowds in comparison to their peers in England.

The global health emergency has thrown the world of sport into chaos, with several parties unsure of when crowds will be allowed to physically attend games. 

Clubs are resigned to seeing out the rest of the current campaign behind closed doors and the Premier League’s medical director, Mark Gillett, recently admitted grounds may remain empty for another year.

The Premier League’s medical director recently admitted grounds may stay empty for a year

‘I’ve sat on the DCMS group [directing the return of elite sport] with a very high level of medical input from Public Health England and the chief medical officers department,’ he said.

‘They’ve made it very clear that the social situation, the public health situation, is not going to change over the next six to 12 months.

‘Regardless of the timing of this type of conversation we’re going to be looking to make the same kind of cultural changes… whether we have this conversation now or at any point this year. It is important that people understand that.’




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Coronavirus: Women’s football could be hit much harder than men’s, Fifpro warns

Women’s football faces “concrete risks” and could be hit much harder by coronavirus than the men’s game, world players’ union Fifpro has warned.

Jonas Baer-Hoffmann, Fifpro’s general secretary, is concerned investments in the women’s game may stall.

Women’s football saw widespread global growth in participation and attendances after 2019’s World Cup.

“It has been on an upward trend, but a positive trend can still be quite fragile,” Baer-Hoffmann said.

“We do see a threat that certain programmes will shut down or not see the same attention as before.

“The long-term consequences [of the pandemic] in terms of the equality and the diversity in our game could be much harder hit on the women’s side.”

  • Women’s Euros put back to 2022

He continued: “There are a couple of concrete risks. One is a stalling of the investment we’ve recently seen – we need to still keep building up investment in women’s football to sustain professional development.

“We’ve also seen the postponement of international tournaments. The women’s game still requires to have these big public events, like an World Cup, Olympics, Euros, because these events are massive platforms on which many players are building their careers.

“That’s because it’s the only international platform on which they’re seen by clubs who might be interested in their services afterwards.”

Unlike in the men’s game, women’s teams at the Olympics can select their first-choice senior national sides for the Games in Tokyo, which have been postponed until 2021.

  • Will Olympics delay affect Neville’s future?

‘We must build a common vision’

Fifpro released a paper on Thursday outlining the “existential threat” facing the women’s game because of the pandemic, with the average length of a player’s contract just over 12 months long.

“Now is the time to have this conversation about women’s football. Not in a couple of weeks or a couple of months, now,” said Fifpro’s chief women’s football officer Amanda Vandervort.

“We do have deep concerns about investments in the women’s game being reduced or withdrawn. Together the industry has to build a common vision. Together we’ll achieve sustainable growth.”

Baer-Hoffmann added that the vast majority of female athletes cannot afford to voluntarily take the kind of wage deductions or referrals that have been seen at high level of the men’s game, because of their low salaries.

On Tuesday, however, the England women’s team collectively made a donation to the NHS, supporting a scheme set up by men’s Premier League players.

Asked if she had friends in the game who were worried about losing their jobs, England striker Jodie Taylor said: “I don’t think anybody feels safe at this time.

“Nobody really knows how long this is going to last for. So as much as I believe our league and club here are being as transparent as they can, who knows what the future will bring.

“It’s a stressful reality and one that we’re all sitting back and waiting for. It’s very unknown.”

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Police break up football match in the park as Brits flout coronavirus lockdown rules – The Sun

POLICE were forced to break up a football match in the park as Brits flouted coronavirus lockdown rules.

Cops were seen dispersing the group of pals in Roath, Cardiff, as they played in close contact and tackled each other for the ball.

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On Monday Brits were told they could only leave the house to buy essential items, take a bout of exercise per day or go to work if they were a key worker.

But group gatherings – like football matches – were banned altogether.

In Cardiff, officers were quick to step in, having been given powers to arrest people should they need – as well as issuing fines.

TOUGHER MEASURES

Last night Prime Minister warned things would "get worse before they get better," suggesting tougher lockdown measures will be enforced if needed.

In a letter being sent out to British households this week, the PM writes: “It’s important for me to level with you — we know things will get worse before they get better."

He adds: "We will not hesitate to go further if that is what the scientific and medical advice tells us we must do.”

Meanwhile, a top health chief has warned the lockdown could be force until June.

Professor Neil Ferguson told The Times: “We’re going to have to keep these measures [the full lockdown] in place, in my view, for a significant period of time — probably until the end of May, maybe even early June. May is optimistic.”


STAY AWAY

Despite the stay-at-home warnings, many Brits have been spotted filling parks and beaches across the UK.

In London, joggers and dog walkers crowded Battersea Park, while in Brighton Brits flocked to the seaside.

On Thursday, cops broke up a group of eight pals flouting the lockdown rules with a picnic of kebabs and shisha.

It comes as the UK's coronavirus death toll hit 1,019 yesterday – the biggest 24 hour surge the nation has seen so far.


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