Fans WILL be let into non-league grounds – reports

Bracknell Town celebrate. Photo: Neil Graham /
Bracknell Town celebrate. Photo: Neil Graham /

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The BBC Sport website is reporting that fans will be allowed to return to games at step 3 and below after the #LetFansIn campaign and a letter signed by 30 MPs including those for Bracknell Forest and Windsor appeared to make the case.

The piece (you can read here in full) by Laura Scott doesn’t specifically set a date, but says: “Clubs in the leagues below National League North and South will be able to open their gates to spectators for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began.”

Petitions for #LetFansIn have gained 6,000 signatures but the move that broke the deadlock with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) appears to have been a letter written by Dame Cheryl Gillan, MP for Chesham and Amersham, which was co-signed by 30 MPs including Adam Afriyie (Windsor) and James Sunderland (Bracknell Forest).

The letter, tweeted on Tuesday morning by former Minister for Sport Tracey Crouch, urged the DCMS to understand the difference between levels in non-league football which, from the National League North and South and above, is classed as elite sport by the government, while anything below is recreational sport.

It does mean that Vanarama National League sides Maidenhead United, Slough Town and Hungerford Town will need to wait for test events to be completed in October.

According to the BBC report, fans will need to abide by social distancing rules, and spectator groups must be restricted to “discrete six-person gathering limits”.

Clubs who do open their doors will need to publish a risk assessment and their will still be limits on numbers of spectators – who will be expected to sign in for the NHS Test and Trace scheme.

This is great news for our step 3 to 7 clubs across Berkshire in the Isthmian, Southern, Hellenic, Combined Counties and Thames Valley Premier League’s but we’d urge people to hold on until confirmation of a date is released – the BBC report suggests ‘from now’ but equally that protocols were in the process of being drawn up and there appears to be no update as yet from the Football Association.

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