According to Sportsmail, soccer fans could return to the stadiums in December to watch Premier League and EFL games.
Sources close to negotiating the return of fans say officials from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport have now made proposals to the cabinet office to allow viewers to attend games in areas where coronavirus infection rates are low as soon as the second national ban is lifted.
The government has yet to approve the proposals, but football sources are strongly encouraged that DCMS stands ready to equate the national game with other activities after months of criticism that the arts are allowed to take in an audience while football has not.
The fans would have to be socially distant and the maximum capacity would be limited, as was the case when Brighton held a test event in August when Chelsea visited the Amex Stadium
According to the new DCMS proposal, fans in tier 1 and tier 2 areas may enter the grounds under certain conditions. However, it is unclear what reasons would fall into the lower tiers, as ministers are considering a new four-tier system with a different set of rules when the nationwide lockdown ends on December 2nd.
Football clubs and fans were angry and frustrated that under the previous rules art lovers could attend a concert at the Royal Albert Hall, but no one could sit outside at a football game in the country's top four divisions.
In other bizarre contradictions, fans sat in theaters to watch the games next to where the game was held and even saw the action on TV in hospitality lounges in the same stadium.
The news will bring much-needed joy to fans and hope to starved clubs that have struggled since the turnstiles closed when the coronavirus pandemic hit the UK in March.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden is leading plans to bring fans back to football stadiums
However, there will be concerns about the prospect of fans returning to the stadiums.
The number of people who died from Covid-19 rose 40 percent in the first week of November, as the virus caused one in six deaths in England and Wales, killing more people than it had ever since May.
A weekly report from the Office of National Statistics found that a total of 1,937 people died between October 31 and November 6 and had coronavirus on their death certificate, up from 1,379 the week before. The week before, deaths had also risen 42 percent.
Supporters have been banned from stadiums since the first coronavirus lockdown in March
The absence of fans has put the clubs under enormous financial pressure. Ten have struggled to build their payroll this month and others have run into huge debts.
All events in England – including the arts – were banned from November 5th when a second national lockdown began. Ministers, however, hope to bring back a regional tier system after nationwide restrictions were lifted on December 2nd.
The ministers are considering a new tiered regulation for December, in which there could be even stricter restrictions in stage three, but activities may be resumed in stages one and two.
And the DCMS proposals suggest that participation might be allowed in the areas that belong to the lowest two levels. The exact system will be announced.
Clubs in the top 4 of English football have no fans on the site since March
After the lockdown ends, is England heading for FOUR levels with no more mixing inside, pubs closed and alcohol curfew at 9pm?
In another sign that supports sign blocking measures, new Covid case numbers in the UK were registered at 21,363. That number is new, laboratory-confirmed cases that were recorded at 9 a.m. yesterday
Fears arose today that after the blanket lockdown ended, England could head towards Christmas under a brutal four-tier system – with the prospect of tighter restrictions on indoor mixing and alcohol sales.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick gave a strong hint that local restrictions will be tightened even if the national curbs are lifted as planned on December 2nd.
He suggested that some additional measures in Nottinghamshire – like a bar for alcohol sales after 9pm – be embedded in the agreements.
And he said no decision had been made whether to tighten the lowest level 1 after health chiefs found it ineffective. This could potentially mean preventing families from gathering around the house during the Christmas season.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock, pushed on the subject in the House of Commons this afternoon, refused to kill the idea, saying it was "too early to do the analysis". We will remain vigilant, ”he told MPs.
In a round of interviews, Jenrick also signaled that regions, not individual cities, will be subject to the same levels in order to make them “more consistent”.
And he said that after December 2nd there would be no "final" decision on the shape of the rules until the end of this month.
READ THE FULL STORY HERE.
Tony Stewart, owner of Rotherham United Championship Club, said: “I know clubs that are in dire straits. Fans bring income. It will be of great help. It means there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
& # 39; And it's going to be fantastic for the fans. You want to go back in. & # 39;
Coronavirus cases are currently falling in Wales and North West England and are below the national average in London, according to government figures.
As part of a return plan, participation in all professional sports would be permitted and would have to be socially distant. The total number of fans would be limited.
Ultimately, the clubs must apply to the local safety advisory group, which includes the local authorities and emergency services, for a safety certificate, which sets out the permitted number of spectators and the conditions for using a stadium.
Clubs like Fleetwood Town are keen to see fans return for the much-needed income
Regardless of the number, fans and clubs would take the opportunity at this point to get the fans back on the ground.
Test events like Brighton's friendly with Chelsea in August, which attracted 2,524 people, were a huge success, and ministers and officials were impressed by how well fans followed the rules.
The clubs were deeply disappointed that the government was backtracking on its plans to allow a limited number of fans to play games from October 3, while theaters and cinemas opened their doors.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has previously suggested that the number of people traveling to soccer games makes sport a different proposition than arts events, most of which are small.
Paul Barber, the managing director of Brighton, has put in place a system for fans to return safely
However, Dowden and his officials seem to have listened and for the first time seem determined to put football on an equal footing.
It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson reassured a group of MPs from the north in a Zoom appeal Monday that he is pushing for fans to return.
"I promise that when we get out of the lockdown on December 2nd, we'll work to get the crowd back," he told around 60 MPs, according to The Sun.
Brighton paves the way for fans
Brighton and Hove Albion have created a template for returning football fans to stadiums that other clubs are expected to follow when the turnstiles reopen.
Brighton's testing event, which saw 2,500 fans compete in a friendly against Chelsea on August 29, was hailed as a huge success and witnessed by senior government officials.
The results were analyzed by experts from the University of Manchester and incorporated into a set of guidelines for local safety advisory groups made up of representatives from local authorities, the NHS, the police and others in each area ahead for clubs to host matches.
The Brighton Test Event in August will set the stage for fans to return across the country
The system includes:
- Distancing when approaching the stadium to avoid crowds, as well as for indoor halls
- Masks must be worn everywhere except when seated. However, this is likely to change and masks will likely need to be worn before, during, and after a game
- Fans must have photo ID so the club knows they are the person who bought the ticket and that they can be contacted in the event of a coronavirus outbreak
- Supporters must disinfect their hands on the way in and out of the premises
- Each fan sits alone, not even in a family bubble, with vacancies on either side and an empty row between the trailers, which makes it easier for the stewards to manage the game
- Brighton has created a unique mint green branding for information about Covid. This was used to communicate with fans before the game and during the game so that they knew what to expect and what to do
- Fans asked to give way to the followers who climb the stairs to their seat (because they would exhale harder) and turn away from others as they passed
Supporters had to wear masks everywhere in the Amex except on their seats
In addition, the government's Sports Technology and Innovation Working Group is looking into other initiatives, such as the possibility of mass testing fans so that only those who test negative can participate in the game.
Crucially, the analysis by the local health authority revealed that the match did not result in an increase in COVID-19 infections.
A transport study after the Brighton event found that 60 percent of supporters used public transport even though parking was available. Many preferred to stick to their usual matchday routine.
Paul Barber was hoping fans could return in the new year, but now it could be even sooner
The clubs also look into how people travel to and from the stadium.
Bristol City has developed a system that allows a limited number of fans to play games from each zip code area to ensure public transport is not overcrowded on any single route.
In addition, Bristol City has announced that it is working with local pubs to manage the crowds around the stadium.
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