City urge government to act amid fears clubs may go to the wall
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Norwich City have expressed their ‘disappointment and frustration’ at the government’s lack of support for football amid fears many clubs face a bleak future due to the on going bar on supporters in stadiums.
The Canaries released a club statement on Friday afternoon following on from joint majority shareholder Delia Smith’s open letter to the Prime Minister, calling for a ‘percentage of supporters to be allowed to return to games’.
City held a successful test event for 1,000 fans to watch September’s Championship draw against Preston, and the latest statement confirmed they were working towards an 8,000 capacity with the relevant safety bodies before the government tightened on going restrictions due to the pandemic.
The full statement read: ‘All at Norwich City are becoming increasingly disappointed and frustrated with the government’s lack of support for football and its communities.
‘The government has openly spoken about its desire to support the hospitality, leisure and entertainment industries but, in recent months, has done very little to support football clubs.
‘Whilst other areas of society have been opened up in order to protect the economy, it is disappointing that there has been no further discussion on a road map for supporters returning to stadia or the financial impact on an industry that employs tens of thousands of people across the country.
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‘All at Norwich City were incredibly proud of the club’s successful pilot fixture against Preston North End at Carrow Road on September 19. The event was the result of months of planning from club staff and local authorities, and of the 1,000 supporters that attended the positive feedback was overwhelming.
‘The club had worked tirelessly on an agreement and sign off with both the EFL and our SAG (Safety Advisory Group) that would have allowed for up to 8,000 fans to attend games at Carrow Road. Unfortunately, those plans were also curtailed by the government’s subsequent decision to remove supporters from stadiums.
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‘We continue to see people enjoying the cinema, theatre and the arts. The continued inconsistent approach across the entertainment industry is even more disheartening when we have previously seen supporters back in stadiums around Europe and hear of their clear plans and discussions for wider support for the months ahead.
‘The club continues to do all it can to engage with its supporters and maintain its revenue streams and would urge the government to reconsider the current measures in place and to allow our passionate supporters to watch their team in safety and with respect for the guidelines.
‘Should supporters be categorically unable to return to stadiums because of further restrictions, we ask that the government addresses the urgent need for a clear plan for support for all clubs, from the Premier League down through the divisions. Clubs are the lifeblood of many communities and we fear that unless sufficient support is given many clubs may not exist in months and years to come.
‘Norwich City continue to follow the wider government protocols and advice to ensure that its supporters remain safe and secure. The club would never jeopardise the health and safety of its supporters in any way and maintains strict standards and protocols across both its Carrow Road and Lotus training centre sites.’