Premier League clubs fear social distancing makes return of away fans at end of this season ‘more TROUBLE than it’s worth’… and believe encouraging supporters to travel outside local area sends wrong message in pandemic
- Premier League clubs say more time is needed to prepare for away fans to return
- Sources revealed the clubs’ views were aired to league in ‘strong terms’ on a call
- Fans are set to be allowed in stadiums for the final two matchdays this season
The Premier League faces opposition over plans to admit away fans for the last two matches of the season.
Clubs fear social distancing may make the prospect impossible, and believe more time is needed to prepare for away fans’ return
They also feel that encouraging supporters to travel outside of their local area to attend games would not send the right message during the pandemic.
Clubs fear that social distancing may make the prospect of away fans this season impossible
Sources have revealed that the clubs’ views were aired to the league in ‘strong terms’ on a call featuring various safety officers late last week.
At the last shareholders meeting, competition chiefs outlined their plans — including shifting the calendar to allow for two matches in front of home and away fans.
The plans met with a positive response, but a growing number of clubs now believe the scenario is ‘more trouble than it’s worth’.
A growing number of clubs believe welcoming back away fans is ‘more trouble than it’s worth’
One official explained: ‘It doesn’t make any sense. If everyone has a home match there is no integrity issue, and the logistics will be challenging at best.
‘Social distancing may present issues, and are we going to ask fans to travel the length of the country in a pandemic?
‘Imagine if there was an outbreak related to football. It’s more trouble than it’s worth and clubs have made their feelings clear. We need more time.’
The Premier League did not comment. But insiders say discussions, including those with public authorities, are ongoing and that they are ‘committed to getting away fans back as soon as it is possible to do so safely’.