Premier League say they will cancel test events for fans as they hit out at the government and claim they can take ‘large-scale’ crowds NOW even with the UK’s R number potentially as high as 1.7
(African Stand) — The Premier League has confirmed it will cancel test events for supporters inside stadiums, in a letter where they have expressed their ‘concern’ at the Government’s decision to restrict and potentially delay the return of fans.
The league have announced that with test events now capped at 1,000 supporters, they believe they will ‘not provide any opportunity to properly test and evaluate measures designed to maximise fan safety.’
Therefore, the league will hold off on holding those events and the news comes as figures show the R number, which measures coronavirus spread, has risen above 1 in the UK – to potentially as high as 1.7.
As a result, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tightened coronavirus restrictions, introducing a rule of six for social gatherings to stop the spread of the virus – which is set to cause significant difficulties for clubs in re-introducing fans in stadiums.
The Premier League statement reads: ‘At 1,000 supporters, not only would there be little to learn from a test event, but each match would be heavily loss-making.
‘For each month of the season without fans, more than £100 million is lost to football across the leagues, with consequent damage to the local and national economy. It also harms the employment prospects of more than 100,000 people whose jobs depend on matchday activities.
‘Our clubs have already prepared test events and can offer larger-scale trials to prove it is possible to produce bio-secure, safe environments, as was proved through the successful delivery of Project Restart.’
On Wednesday, Mr. Johnson dropped his bombshell that there was to be a review of plans to reopen stadiums – less than an hour after Premier League chief executive Richard Masters had declared it was ‘absolutely critical’ fans were allowed back into grounds as soon as possible.
Masters had disclosed that the absence of supporters could cost top-flight clubs around £700million over the season.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport confirmed that test events for the rest of this month would be capped at 1,000 spectators and that the Government would review plans for an October 1 permanent return of spectators nearer the time.
‘The Premier League recognises the ambition of Government’s Operation Moonshot and will support the project’s objectives to get fans back into stadiums,’ Friday’s statement continues.
‘However, we believe measures are already available which would allow the safe return of fans and should also be activated now.
‘As the Government begins its review of the 1 October date for the return of spectators to the sport, the Premier League asks that the high safety standards which can be achieved by our clubs are fully taken into account before any decision is taken and that sport is not left behind other industries.’