National League requests Government to allow fans into stadiums from 3rd October
"Live attendance is our clubs largest source of income" - Brian Barwick, Chairman of National League
Along with all other clubs in the National League we at Tonbridge Angels have carried out over the last few weeks a huge amount of work that allows our supporters within the community to return safely to The Halcyon Wealth Longmead Stadium to once again enjoy watching and supporting their local football team. Our Chairman, Dave Netherstreet has been in contact with the Tonbridge & Malling MP Tom Tugendhat who has already shown support for getting supporters back into stadiums particularly within the National League set up, and he will be meeting him in person this Friday.
Alongside local efforts such as ours, today (September 15th) The National League has written to the Government asking that fans be allowed to return to stadiums from 3rd October under social distancing rules. Here follows the statement from the National League:-
The Chairman of the National League, Brian Barwick, has today written to The Rt Hon Oliver Dowden CBE MP, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to ask the Government to carefully consider how its pending decision on the return of fans to football grounds will affect its clubs, their employees, and local communities.
The National League has also asked the Government for permission to commence the new season on 3 October with fans in attendance with social distancing and other Covid secure measures in place.
Since the onset of the pandemic, the National League has closely adhered to Government policy and fully recognises the overwhelming necessity to protect people's health and well-being. Following the Prime Minister's announcement on 17 July that Government intended to bring back audiences in stadia from October each club has started to prepare for the 2020-21 season.
The National League has set the start date as 3 October, which is when 24 clubs would be due to play their first league match and a further 43 clubs are involved FA Cup ties.
In readiness for the safe return of spectators, National League clubs have calculated their ground's new socially-distanced capacity. Whilst crowds could be accommodated up to a level of 20-30% of each stadium's normal capacity in accordance with the Sports Grounds Safety Authority guidance, the National League has asked the Government to allow up to 1,000 spectators in all grounds from October as a temporary solution that is validated by the Government’s approved pilot events conducted in September.
Brian Barwick commented: “The National League restart depends upon crowds being allowed back in stadiums as live attendance is our clubs’ largest source of income.
"The Government urgently needs to set out a credible pathway for the safe return of supporters, and to ensure our football clubs can continue to function, and to perform their significant role in the sporting life of the country.
"We are proud to be a national competition with strong local connections.”