Supporters are currently unable to watch matches at football grounds due to Government guidelines around social distancing and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Fans have been lobbying to get back into grounds and Standard Sport has started its own campaign to support the cause.
Clubs have been showing how they can welcome fans back safely by inviting them to come to grounds and watch the game on screens inside, with the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham and Millwall all doing so.
Manchester United, however, have now declared they are ready to reopen and welcome fans back as soon as the Government allows them to.
Plans for stadiums to be reopened in October were postponed by the Government because of the resurgence in Covid-19 cases – leaving fans of all clubs uncertain as to when they will next be able to cheer on their team from the stands.
Collette Roche, Manchester’s United chief operating officer, said the club had put rigorous plans in place to make Old Trafford as safe as possible for fans when they are allowed back.
“We were really disappointed when the government decided not to allow fans back in the stadium in October because we’ve got everything in place to make sure we can do so safely,” Roche told Sky Sports News.
Speaking inside Old Trafford ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League tie versus RB Leipzig, Roche said: “As you have seen today, we’ve got all the COVID security measures and other processes ready to go.
“We spent around two months working with the government guidelines to develop the right processes and measures to make sure that we can have around 23,500 people in this stadium safely social distancing.”
While stressing that public health was the number one priority, Roche said it was unfair for football fans to be treated differently from other groups of people.
“It’s quite bemusing to understand why people can gather in other settings such as on an aeroplane or a restaurant, or even in a cinema to watch football, when we know we’ve got the plans and the process is ready to deliver a match day here safely,” she said.
Roche said the club had had to “redesign what matchday looks like” with plans such as staggered arrival times for fans and temperature checks before entry to minimise risks.
“The government gave us guidelines and it’s those guidelines that we have followed,” she said. “I’m convinced that would be able to do so safely.”