Fans can watch matches in stadiums ‘more safely’ than in their own LIVING ROOMS, claims Brighton CEO
Premier League clubs can create a ‘SAFER’ match day environment for supporters than for their living room, says Brighton CEO Paul Barber … with top flight for fans to finally return in just TWO weeks
- Premier League clubs are hoping that fans will be able to return in limited numbers from October 1
- Paul Barber has claimed that supporters can watch games on the premises more safely
- The Brighton CEO says fans must return to keep the football going at every level
- Tighter restrictions in the UK could lead to plans being pushed back in November
Premier League clubs believe they can provide supporters with a safer on-site environment compared to watching matches in pubs and bars, says Brighton CEO Paul Barber.
The top flight released a statement on Thursday reiterating their wish for fans to finally return to the stadiums from Oct. 1 – though a recent surge in coronavirus infections across the country could dash their hopes.
With the government reintroducing certain restrictions, clubs now fear matches will have to continue behind closed doors until November. However, Barber stressed that fans should be reintroduced to the field as soon as possible – in addition to proper safety precautions – to keep the football going at every level.
Paul Barber says Premier League clubs can provide a safe environment for fans on the ground
The Brighton CEO (above) believes supporters need to return quickly to keep the football afloat
“The message is that we want to see fans back in our stadiums as soon as possible,” he told beIN Sports. ‘We believe we can create a safe environment that is arguably safer than looking into their own living rooms and bars and pubs across the country.
Not only is it important for Premier League-level clubs, but it is also vital for clubs on the football pyramid, and maybe even more down the pyramid.
The reality is that the income on match days of fans who attend matches is just as important to us [Premier League clubs] than for clubs outside the Premier League and it is especially important when we are expected to support our colleagues further up the pyramid.
But the best flying clubs are now worried that they won’t be able to reopen their grounds until November
The new season began behind closed doors this month amid an increase in Covid-19 infections
“We need to get fans back into the stadium, we need to get that to happen sooner rather than later, but we are well aware that we need to protect people in the process.
‘We believe that with the measures we have taken we can keep people safe and that is important to me. It’s an outdoor environment, we have plenty of space to keep people at bay, our stewards are trained to work with new guidelines to keep people safe, and we think it’s important not only for the football economy, but also for the economy in generally up and down. land to get live sports back into action. ‘
Brighton was selected for a pilot event by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to try out a staged return for spectators following the March ban on mass rallies.
The club welcomed 2,524 supporters for their friendly draw against Chelsea on August 29, and strict social distance and temperature controls created a safe atmosphere.
Brighton was selected for a pilot event where 2,545 fans returned for a friendly match last month
Barber believes the successful event proves that clubs will be able to welcome fans in the very near future.
He added: ‘The pilot event and guidelines set by the Sports Grounds Safety Authority have shown that we can safely host events with fans in stadiums virtually no matter where the country is located in terms of different levels of infection.
‘Obviously if there are specific and highly localized peaks where there are major concerns with the local authorities, then the football will have to respond clearly and adapt accordingly and that may mean that those stadiums have to be behind closed doors for a period of time. stay. doors. But we shouldn’t stop the rest of the country from going back to normal when their local infections are low, or in some cases so low that they are almost non-existent. ‘
An imminent tightening of the Covid-19 restrictions has raised fears that clubs could go bankrupt
Sports boards now believe a return is the most likely scenario at the earliest in November, and clubs will try to allow a 30 percent capacity on match days.
Barber has insisted that fans must return soon to prevent teams from going out of business due to a drastic loss of revenue.
‘That is the ultimate concern we all have [that clubs will vanish],’ he said. ‘Football clubs that have been around for over 100 years are in many cases not only there for the sports league they participate in, but they are also there as a fundamental and intrinsic part of the community they serve.
The loss of a football club isn’t just about losing the league and the jobs that go with it, it’s also about the impact on communities across the country. We all want to avoid that. ‘