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National League asks Government to allow 1,000 supporters into all grounds as 'temporary solution'

The National League has asked the Government to allow up to 1,000 supporters into all grounds from October as a ‘temporary solution’ while a credible pathway is found for the return of fans to football.

Chairman of the league, Brian Barwick, wrote to Oliver Dowden, MP and secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, asking him to carefully consider the proposal as well as the positive impact the return of fans will have on football clubs, their employees and communities.

The league has asked the Government for permission to commence the new season from October 3 with fans in attendance, so long as clubs enforce social distancing and have COVID-19 secure measures in place. Twenty-four National League clubs are due to play their first league match on October 3, and a further 43 will be involved in FA Cup qualifying ties. Clubs have been calculating their own socially distanced capacity over the past few weeks and it is felt that crowds up to a level of 30 per cent of stadiums’ normal capacity could be accommodated, in accordance with the Sports Grounds Safety Authority Guidance. However, the National League has also asked the Government to allow up to 1,000 spectators in all grounds from October as a temporary solution that can be validated by the Government’s approved pilot events in the football league throughout September.

The statement said the National League had closely adhered to government policy on COVID-19 and fully recognises the overwhelming necessity to protect people’s health and wellbeing.

Brian Barwick commented: “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.”

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