Non-league football clubs continue to wait for fans go-ahead

PUBLISHED: 17:00 19 August 2020

Everyone Active gym at Everyone Active Stadium.

Everyone Active gym at Everyone Active Stadium.

Archant

Non-league football clubs were left still waiting to learn when they might be able to allow spectators into their grounds this week.

Clevedon Town before their FA Cup tie with Bristol Manor FarmClevedon Town before their FA Cup tie with Bristol Manor Farm

An online meeting between the Football Association and the National League System leagues on Monday did not result in a formal announcement from the FA on when spectators might be allowed to return.

But several leagues provided an update, which demonstrates a direction of travel for non-league football.

There is still no definite date for spectators to be re-admitted but the FA are hopeful of an answer from the Government by early next week at the latest.

It would appear that the FA Plans for the return of spectators and competitive non-league football has been approved by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and it has been referred to Number 10 and the Prime Minister for final sign off.

Clevedon Town were able to test the safety measures they have put in place at the Everyone Active Stadium on Monday by playing an Under-18 friendly against North Somerset Under-16s on the main pitch, when parents and carers are permitted to watch in line with FA guidance for youth football.

The game finished 5-1 to the Seasiders youngsters, but the most important outcome was that the safety measures the club have put in place worked well with a crowd of about 60 parents.

A quick survey as everybody filed out through the one-way system showed people were happy with the Covid-19 safety measures and most importantly felt safe.

Club chairman Brian Rose said: “Whilst we are obviously disappointed that we are still waiting for the official go-ahead, we support the measures the FA and Government are taking and recognise that everybody has to be satisfied it is safe to return to competitive.

“However, I think we have shown tonight that we are ready here at the Everyone Active.”

Meanwhile, Clevedon’s Covid-19 Officer Paul Davis added: “Things went well tonight and we are grateful for the positive feedback from those who came. However, we still learnt a number of lessons which will enable us to tweak our plans and make things even safer.

“Being able to test things was vital, which is why the Government and the FA need to allow spectators into grounds while friendlies are still being played so all clubs can test their plans before the start of competitive football and the larger attendances that brings.

“Unless the authorities make an announcement before this weekend, unfortunately our friendly against Weston-super-Mare on Saturday will still be behind closed doors and we ask that spectators do not try to turn up to watch the game.”


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