The National League have asked the Government for permission to start the 2020/21 season on 3rd October with fans in attendance.
The league’s request takes into account social distancing and ‘other COVID-secure measures in place.’ League chairman Brian Barwick has written to The Rt Hon Oliver Dowden CBE MP, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to ask the Government to carefully consider how its pending decision on the return of fans to football grounds will affect its clubs, their employees and local communities.
A league statement continues: “Since the onset of the pandemic, the National League has closely adhered to Government policy and fully recognises the overwhelming necessity to protect people’s health and well-being. Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 17 July that Government intended to bring back audiences in stadia from October, each club has started to prepare for the 2020-21 season.
“The National League has set the start date as 3 October, which is when 24 clubs would be due to play their first league match and a further 43 clubs are involved FA Cup ties. In readiness for the safe return of spectators, National League clubs have calculated their ground’s new socially-distanced capacity.
“Whilst crowds could be accommodated up to a level of 20-30% of each stadium’s normal capacity in accordance with the Sports Grounds Safety Authority guidance, the National League has asked the Government to allow up to 1,000 spectators in all grounds from October as a temporary solution that is validated by the Government’s approved pilot events conducted in September.”