In July, the government conveyed a compelling message to sports enthusiasts through Prime Minister Boris Johnson. In the pursuit to get the reward of a functional society back, they had decided to bring back fans into stadiums. They had agreed to start pilot events from August and subsequently welcome fans in October. A few weeks into October, the government has decided to pause the activity.
Again, Prime Minister Boris Johnson conveys the news. He and government officials have expressed concerns and fear that there could be a second wave of the coronavirus infections, which will provide a safe environment for neither the athletes nor their fans. Yesterday, September 21, the UK had recorded more than four thousand cases.
Due to the pandemic scare, the government has reconsidered their decision to have fans return to stadiums at the beginning of next month
“We have to acknowledge that the spread of the virus is now affecting our ability to reopen business conferences, exhibitions, and large sporting events,” Johnson said in his address to the nation. “So we will not be able to do this from October 1, and I recognize the implications for our sports clubs, which are the life and soul of our communities
“And my right honorable friends at the Chancellor and the Culture Secretary are working urgently on what we can do now to support them.” He said. He also listed some new measures to curb the spread of the virus, which he believes will remain in place for at least six months, especially if the CBER does not make progress with the development of vaccines. He also reminded citizens that the virus had become a part of our lives, and we must fight against it.
The Premier League officials are very unhappy with the development
The announcement is not going down well for sports clubs and even the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sports. They had anticipated the return of fans for a long time now, and they are disappointed by the development. The pilot events scheduled for September have all been canceled, and it has affected matches as well. Premiership Rugby has confirmed that it has affected a game between Bath and Gloucester on Tuesday night and Bristol against Leicester next week.
Fans play a very significant role in the development and running of sporting activities. They do not just go to stadiums to cheer on their best teams but also provide essential revenue. With they not around, the sector’s revenue has been significantly hit and sports leaders have urged the government to give a ‘sports recovery fund’ to help the industry survive the pandemic and still come out strong.
Leaders of hundred of sports bodies, including premier league, football association, rugby football, etc., have written a letter to the government. They believe that the pandemic has undermined the revenue streams with stadiums and leisure facilities since they have been closed for quite a long time and that “the impact of this will potentially lead to a lost generation of sports and activity.”
Will the government, still not allow fans into stadiums? Premier League is not having it. Here is why;
The premier league says they are losing too much money without their fans. This month, they had written a letter to the government stating that they had already lost around 127m dollars and will not endure more. The league is devastated about the announcement and has revealed in a statement that they believe they can host fans safely despite the rise in COVID-19 cases.
“The premier league notes the government’s announcement today, and while the health of the nation must remain everyone’s priority, we are disappointed that the safe return of supporters to matches has been postponed.” Part of the statement read.
It is in their belief, though, that they can still have fans over due to the league-wide guidelines and a code of conduct that were developed by scientific experts and agreed on by the government’s Sports Ground Safety Authority. “Last season, premier league clubs suffered £700m in losses, and at present, our national games are losing more than £100m per month.”
They are confident that the safe return of fans will generate enough revenue to return all levels of the game while maintaining solidarity arrangements, current tax contributions, and financial support for local and national economies. The EFL is also estimating great losses if fans do not return soon enough.
The government has also agreed to meet sports bodies urgently.