Clevedon Town to face local rivals in first friendly behind closed doors
PUBLISHED: 13:00 30 July 2020
Clevedon Town’s eagerly awaited first friendly of the new season, a local derby against Clevedon United on Saturday, will have to be played behind closed doors with no spectators, unless the current FA guidance changes before the game.
But if it does, the club are ready to accommodate spectators, having prepared a Covid-19 risk assessment and action plan and put all the necessary measures in place.
The current FA guidance says ‘We have a specific proposal lodged with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport with oversight from the Sports Ground Safety Authority on the return of spectators at National Game System grounds. This is yet to be approved and as such any pre-season fixtures must be, until advised otherwise, planned to be behind closed doors.’
And Clevedon Town’s Covid-19 Officer Paul Davis said: “We understand the FA have submitted a proposal to the DCMS to allow spectators at friendlies and approval is awaited. If that is given before Saturday, the club will provide updates on the Clevedon United fixture on its website and through Twitter and Facebook.
“If the current guidance remains in place, the club will strictly adhere to it and on no account should any supporters of either club come to the Everyone Active Stadium and attempt to gain access to the ground.
“You will not be allowed in under any circumstances. We are obviously disappointed to have do this but have no choice and we don’t want to be blamed for compromising everybody’s safety and spreading the virus.”
Arrangements for the other friendlies which have been provisionally arranged, against Taunton Town, Weston and Yate Town, will be dependent on the FA advice in place at the time and the club will make further announcements in due course.
Chairman Brian Rose added: “The health and safety of everyone is paramount. Of course we are all disappointed that there will be no fans of both sides there.
“But we accept that the FA and the Government need to be satisfied that the measures they put in place will prevent the possibility of spreading Covid-19 through football activities and ensure that when football does start the season can be completed without any interruptions.”
It is bound to be a keenly contested friendly between the two neighbours and after so long without football and will be the first meeting between Town and United for 12 years.
The last game was a friendly in July 2008, with Town squeezing home 1-0 after a great display by current manager Mark Selway in the United goal.
The last competitive game between the clubs was in October 2006 in the first round of the Somerset Premier Cup, with Town winning 2-0 thanks to goals from Danny Haines and Jack Pitcher as United included ex-Town legend Steve Lester.
The crowd for that game was 186, in stark contrast to what is now expected Saturday.
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