National League seeking answers over fans' return

Kettering Town's National League North campaign is due to start at the beginning of next month

Tuesday, 15th September 2020, 4:07 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th September 2020, 4:10 pm
Kettering Town are due to begin their new season on October 3

The National League have confirmed that chairman Brian Barwick has today (Tuesday) written to Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to ask the Government to carefully consider how its pending decision on the return of fans to football grounds will affect its clubs, their employees, and local communities.

The National League has also asked the Government for permission to commence the new season on October 3 with fans in attendance with social distancing and other Covid secure

measures in place.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Kettering Town are due to begin their season in the second qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup on October 3 with the National League North campaign getting under way three days later with a trip to Gloucester City.

In a statement released today, the National League said: "Since the onset of the pandemic, the National League has closely adhered to Government policy and fully recognises the overwhelming necessity to protect people's health and well-being.

"Following the Prime Minister's announcement on 17 July that Government intended to bring back audiences in stadia from October each club has started to prepare for the 2020-

21 season.

"The National League has set the start date as October 3, which is when 24 clubs would be due to play their first league match and a further 43 clubs are involved FA Cup ties.

"In readiness for the safe return of spectators, National League clubs have calculated their ground's new socially-distanced capacity.

"Whilst crowds could be accommodated up to a level of 20-30% of each stadium's normal capacity in accordance with the Sports Grounds Safety Authority guidance, the National League has asked the Government to allow up to 1,000 spectators in all grounds from October as a temporary solution that is validated by the Government’s approved pilot events conducted in September."

And Barwick himself said: "The National League restart depends upon crowds being allowed back in stadiums as live attendance is our clubs’ largest source of income.

"The Government urgently needs to set out a credible pathway for the safe return of supporters, and to ensure our football clubs can continue to function, and to perform their significant role in the sporting life of the country.

"We are proud to be a national competition with strong local connections.”