Committee welcomes news that fans will be allowed to attend football matches after lockdown
24 November 2020
Petitions Committee Chair Catherine McKinnell MP, and Committee member Jonathan Gullis MP, have welcomed the news that some fans will be allowed to attend matches when national Covid-19 restrictions end on 2 December.
On Monday 23 November, the Government announced that limited numbers of fans will be allowed to attend ‘elite sports’ events, including professional football matches, from 2 December. The numbers of fans allowed will be limited to a maximum of 4,000 fans in tier one locations and 2,000 fans in tier two locations. The Government is expected to confirm which tier of restrictions will apply where later this week.
The news follows a recent debate on a petition calling on the Government to Allow football fans to attend matches at all levels, which has received over 200,000 signatures. Another petition calling on the Government to Allow the return of spectators to football at all levels below national league has received over 13,000 signatures.
“More than 223,000 people have signed petitions calling for fans to be allowed to attend matches while respecting social distancing. Ahead of our debate, we heard from petitioners who described the many benefits that attending matches can bring, from improved mental health to local employment. It is a testament to the power of petitions that the Government has listened and set out plans to allow spectators to safely return to stadiums in Tiers 1 and 2 from 2 December. However, further clarity is still needed on plans for lower-league football”.
Jonathan Gullis MP comments
“I am delighted that the pleas of over 223,000 petitioners, and of many more football fans around the country, have been heard. I recently spoke to Ashley Greenwood before a debate I led on his petition calling for fans to be allowed to attend matches once more. He reminded me that football is more than just a game of tribal loyalty. It is a game that allows family members to bond, new friendships to be created and local cafes and pubs to thrive on a buzzing match day. Clubs across the country have done everything they can to prepare for this – they’re ready and fans are ready to take their seats and cheer on their team safely. We now await the Premier League to come to a deal with the EFL to financially help out our clubs particularly in League One and Two who may remain in Tier 3 as we exit this national lockdown and build upon the Government’s £300 million Winter Survival Package.”
To help the Committee understand how the ban on attending matches was affecting fans, local communities, and clubs themselves, they ran an online survey of petitioners which received over 11,000 responses.