Ten matches accross the EFL will host up to 1,000 fans this weekend as part of the ‘return of fans’ pilot programme.
Yesterday we announced that EFL clubs had been given the green light, subject to approval, to host pilot events this weekend with up to 1,000 spectators allowed to attend matches.
Clubs had unitl 2pm yesterday to declare their intentions to host a pilot event, with ten matches being granted permission to have up to 1,000 supporters present this weekend.
The games to have fans back in this weekend are:
Championship – Luton Town v Derby County, Norwich City v Preston North End, Middlesbrough v AFC Bournemouth
League One – Charlton Athletic v Doncaster Rovers, Blackpool v Swindon Town, Shrewsbury Town v Northampton Town, Hull City v Crewe Alexandra
League Two – Forest Green Rovers v Bradford City, Carlisle United v Southend United, Morecambe v Cambridge United
Discussions will continue following the pilot games this weekend, with talks ongoing regarding the return for supporters’ in greater numbers post October 1, 2020.
EFL Chair, Rick Parry said: “It’s encouraging that we are in a position to move forward with the next phase of the pilot programme and give a small number of our Clubs the opportunity to welcome back up to a 1,000 fans this week.
“The health and well-being of supporters and their wider communities remains the priority, but as we showed at Cambridge, social distancing can be applied safely. By extending across more EFL Clubs we hope to further demonstrate that the measures developed can allow fans to return in greater numbers from as early as next month.
“The requirement to welcome spectators back through turnstiles has not diminished in any way, the financial challenges facing EFL Clubs have been explained on numerous occasions, they are substantial and a problem that requires immediate solutions.”
Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden said: “I know that many fans are eager to return to football and that jobs depend on this too, so fans will welcome news that the EFL will be running number capped, covid secure, and socially distanced pilots this weekend. This will help us build the evidence base to see how we can return fans safely in greater numbers as soon as it is safe to do so.”
The Blues were looking to host a test game of their own prior to last weeks announcement, with TOTT understanding club staff were sounded out about their availability on Saturday 26th September, the date Town welcome Rochdale to Portman Road.
Following that fixture, Town host Gillingham in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday 6th October, a game which could alternatively be used as a test fixture.
Images: Richard Calver / TOTT