What a difference fans would make to our football club
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Your Posts allows you to voice your opinions on the big sporting stories - teenage fan Samantha Palmer, a 15-year-old Bungay High School pupil, has some thoughts on #letfansin
#Letfansin is a campaign to allow football fans back in stadiums to watch their team live.
Fans have been banned from stadiums all over the UK amidst the Covid-19 outbreak earlier in March.
Norwich City’s last game where fans were allowed to attend was a 1-0 defeat at Bramall Lane against Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United. After the restart they faced Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Southampton at Carrow Road, with fans absent.
With no fans present in the stadiums, it has taken a massive toll on many clubs. Teams in lower leagues such as League Two and the National League have struggled greatly due to not receiving money they would have usually made on ticket and admission fees. Teams that rely on fans making noise to motivate players were seen losing games and becoming disheartened. This also meant that the home advantage was deemed irrelevant.
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Norwich’s game against Preston North End on September 19 saw 1,000 fans return to the stadium in a socially-distanced manner. This also took place at a number of other games, including Middlesborough and Carlisle. Fans were excited at this movement as it meant that this was the first step to allowing fans back to stadiums and were in hope that fans would continue to return to stadiums on a limited basis. This idea has since been put on hold due to a national increase of Covid-19 cases.
It has been recently announced that playing behind closed doors could last for another six months, much to the dismay of the fans. This has sparked the #letfansin movement, urging the government to reconsider their rules against fans in stadiums. A petition to sway the government has already received tens of thousands of signatures, all from fans who want to see their team play.
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Many fans have caused an uproar towards the government, deeming their rules unfair. They argue that there’s little difference to sitting with people at the football than sitting in a pub, restaurant or a busy London underground.
In addition, Sky Sports and BT Sport have started to put some games on a ‘pay per View’ basis. This therefore makes more money for the clubs, but is very controversial since it makes the matches less accessible to the fans who are trying to watch their team. The EFL have been offering free ‘iFollow’ passes to season ticket holders which allows them to view home and midweek games.
Some clubs like Norwich City have been screening their matches to the stadiums. They have allowed a limited number of supporters to pay a £10 fee to watch the game in one of the stadium’s lounges. They have followed social distancing measures and everyone to receive a mandatory, non-invasive temperature check before being granted access into the lounge. They have also limited contact by making all transactions cashless and were encouraged to use the NHS track and trace app. This was a successful event, as it was replicated when Norwich took on Wycombe Wanderers.
In my own opinion, I think many measures would be able to be put into action to make stadiums Covid safe for supporters. Playing behind closed doors is taking a huge toll on the players and clubs and would make a huge difference if fans were to be allowed back in, whether it’s for the fans’ own enjoyment of the sport or the economic side of it.
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