The Voice to Re-open Stadiums Is Growing LouderPeter Houghton
Listening to TalkSport on my way into the office this morning, it is clear that a message is being sent by the football fan public to the DCMS to seek to get our stadiums open to spectators again at the earliest opportunity, even if it is on a limited basis.
The pundits, Alan Brazil, Ally McCoist and Carlton Cole quite rightly asked how come 3000 are allowed into the enclosed spaces of the Royal Albert Hall to watch a concert when a similar number cannot be allowed into an outdoor football stadium to watch their favourite teams.
The general opinion seemed to support the views and a campaign #letfansinhas gained considerable momentum with in excess of 135000 signing the petition.
Broadcaster Adrian Durham made the followed impassioned plea to Oliver Dowden:
“This inexplicably absurd ruling from the government that you can go to pubs, restaurants and cinemas. We can pack onto trains and tubes. We can walk around shopping centres and supermarkets but we cannot go to an open air stadium where Brighton smart club officials have made these stadiums safe. They have even thought about getting to and from the stadium.
“It’s draining the life out of footballers, out of coaches, owners and fans alike. Managers are no longer enjoying what they are doing.
“Players are wondering why they do it. Clubs are going to great lengths to connect with fans who are really suffering because of this.
“Football has lost meaning without anyone watching it. It’s soulless.
“Here’s a message for Oliver Dowden, secretary of state for culture, media and sport. Oliver, you admit you are not a football fan so maybe you don’t get it. Maybe you don’t understand the impact on mental and emotional wellbeing a football club can have.
“Lets make it clear. To so many people involved in football; playing, coaching, owning and supporting. Their club is their life. So if they are unable to go to their club you are taking what is their life away.
“When it was absolutely necessary, we accepted it. But when you can go to a cinema and watch a football match but cannot go to an open-air stadium to watch a game, we start to wonder if you really know what you are doing Oliver Dowden.
“Let fans in. Save football clubs. For the mental health and emotional wellbeing of so many fans, players, coaches and everyone else in the beautiful game. Let. Fans. In.”
With all the hard and diligent work our safety officer colleagues have carried out to fulfil the stage 5 guidance set out in SG02, the protocols set out by the Premier League, the EFL & National League, football stadiums must just about be the safest places in the country to enter right now.
Massive cleansing programmes have been undertaken, players and staff regularly screened, social-distancing plans put in place, ticket offices activated and just about every other plugin around a matchday presentation and delivery prepared to the finest of details to ensure that a number of supporters can return to their stadiums and watch their team. But still there seems to be a barrier at government level.
It seems to be the hot topic of the day on TalkSport as there is still the fear that League 1 & League 2 clubs are in danger and it doesn’t look like there’s any support packages afoot at this time.
The same argument applies to places like arenas. All of these massive music and entertainment venues across the nation lie idle. Casual staff in this vital industry await the call to arms, the artists are chomping at the bit and not least those who wish to see them perform are also waiting in the wings to get the tickets bought. I for one do not want to see any of these outstanding venues, be they Arenas or Theatres become vulnerable or even close.