(Reuters) - England’s Football Association and leagues have urged the government to allow fans to return to stadiums, assuring supporters in an open letter that they can hold matches safely.
The government was hoping to allow the return of 25-33% capacity crowds from Oct. 1 but last month Prime Minister Boris Johnson said those plans were put on hold as part of new restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Premier League chief executive Richard Masters, FA chief executive Mark Bullingham, FA Director of women’s football Kelly Simmons and EFL chief executive David Baldwin have said that they have been working together to make the venues safe for the return of fans.
“With the EFL, Premier League, Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship already staging eleven successful test events recently, we have demonstrated that we can deliver matches safely,” the letter said.
“The sooner we can return, the sooner we can reunite communities and support local jobs, livelihoods, regional businesses and also the national economy.”
Spectators have been either prohibited or allowed in limited numbers as part of pilot programmes at soccer games in England due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed more than 42,000 lives in the United Kingdom as per a Reuters tally.
The governing bodies said the clubs have already proven they have all the safety measures in place for safe return of fans, while also remaining open to adopting innovations as part of a mass-testing project.
“We will continue to urge government to allow us to return fans safely to stadiums. It is positive progress that major arts and music venues have been told they can run socially-distanced events indoors,” the letter added.
“And now football should be allowed to do the same - in highly regulated and stewarded outdoor environments.”
Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Chennai; Editing by Christian Radnedge
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