Portsmouth game potentially played in front of supporters
Town have welcomed the news that supporters look set to return to stadiums after the lockdown in England ends on 2 December.
Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced the plans that will see spectators back at both indoor and outdoor sport in a statement to MPs in the House of Commons this afternoon.
Although MPs will vote on the return of supporters later in the week as part of a wider post lockdown plan of Covid-19 guidelines, it’s expected that up to 4000 fans will be allowed to attend matches that are played in the lowest risk areas. A maximum of 2000 will be allowed in tier two areas but those clubs who are based in tier three will have to remain closed to supporters.
Suffolk was tier one before the four week lockdown but a decision on which areas will come under which tier will be confirmed later this week, probably Thursday.
“It will be based on analysis of cases in all age groups, especially the over-60s,” explained the Prime Minister.
“Also looking at the rate at which cases are rising or falling, the percentage of those tested in a local population who have Covid and current and projected pressures on the NHS.”
Town had been given clearance to run a test event at the end of September with around 1000 fans returning to Portman Road but that was scuppered by the Government’s decision to harden the restrictions.
The home game against Portsmouth on December 12 now looks the day that could see supporters finally back at the stadium for the first time since March 7.
“We welcome today’s positive news from the Government,” Club secretary, Stuart Hayton, told the Club website.
“Obviously we have to wait until we find out which tier we are in and what restrictions will be in place but hopefully supporters will be back at Portman Road next month.
“A lot of hard work has gone on behind the scenes in preparation for the return of fans and a lot of hard work still lies ahead but the announcement today will give everyone a lot of encouragement.”
An EFL spokesman added: “The EFL welcomes today’s decision by the Government to allow the return of supporters, capped at 4,000 in tier one and 2,000 in tier two when the national lockdown ends next week. We now look forward to the re-opening of some EFL club stadiums as we finally welcome back fans after eight long months away.
“Whilst today’s news is subject to regional restrictions, it is an important step in achieving a return to normal, alongside it being crucial to addressing the significant revenue gap left by a lack of spectators and other revenue streams as a result of the pandemic.
“The restrictions in place does mean that not all clubs will get the opportunity straight away to re-open their turnstiles and we still await further guidance from DCMS to understand what areas will be placed in which tier which will not be available until later this week. In the meantime we are doing all we can to ensure we are ready to return when allowed to do so.
“Having worked closely in developing the appropriate safety guidance in conjunction with DCMS and the SGSA, alongside undertaking a series of pilot events hosting up to 1,000 spectators in September, EFL clubs have already demonstrated that they are well positioned to deliver the safe return of fans
“Exit analysis shows that those who attended pilot fixtures felt overwhelmingly safe and adhered to the necessary protocols and the EFL will continue its work with clubs to ensure that they have the most up to-date safety procedures in place to welcome supporters back as soon as the relevant restrictions are lifted.”