Friday, 17 July 2020

Friday, 17 July 2020

Fans Could Return to Stadiums in October, But Clubs Need Financial Assurances Now

As football and the wider sporting world continues to consider ways to return to action following months of inactivity, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that crowds could return to sports stadiums in the United Kingdom from October, subject to successful pilot events.
With the world continuing to battle against coronavirus, sports events have taken place behind closed doors over recent months and, as revenues continue to fall, there is a renewed push to see at least some fans in attendance in the not-too-distant-future.

Walsall, along with the rest of the clubs in League Two, are soon to vote on a range of issues including when the 2020/21 campaign should get underway, and, given the above mentioned financial implications, could do with fans being allowed to return fairly soon if they are to avoid any further financial damage.

Whilst laying out the next steps in lifting lock-down on Friday morning, Mr. Johnson said; "From 1st August, we will restart indoor performance to a live audience, subject to the success of pilots, and we will also pilot larger gatherings in venues like sports stadia, with a view to a wider reopening in the autumn.

"From October, we intend to bring back audiences in stadia. Again, these changes must be done in a Covid-secure way, subject to the successful outcome of pilots."

Saddlers chairman Leigh Pomlett has already hinted at his support for the EFL introducing salary caps in a bid to lower financial pressures, with clubs such as Walsall already operating on a lower budget than most.

With many pundits predicting the season will start in September, the Prime Minister's plans for crowds will still see at least a month of football being played behind closed doors, meaning clubs will still face financial hardship, something the EFL and FA must address ahead of time.

Along with Wigan Athletic entering administration, several other teams have already begun to look at ways to cut costs, and the EFL must not allow the ongoing health crisis to pull more teams closer to the brink.

Whilst many clubs spend well beyond their means there are plenty who simply rely on revenues, and, as fans continue to sit at home and with so many livelihoods on the line, its for the powers that be to step in and offer a helping hand.

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