Oliver Dowden has spoken about the possibilities for fans to return to stadiums before the end of the year.
Since Match, football lovers have not attended matches as a measure to combat the spread of COVID-19. As a result, a number of last season’s Premier League and Football League games were played behind closed doors. Also, this season has begun in the same trend.
However, when speaking to talkSPORT, the secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden was optimistic about the chances for fans to return to stadiums before the end of 2020. He said there “definitely a chance” for fans to attend football grounds.
“Fans need football and football need fans. This is a big priority for me. We made great progress in the run-up to the 1st of September and making it safer for fans to come back into stadiums”. Said Dowden.
“I pushed them hard to get them back from the 1st and we couldn’t agree in the end. With hindsight, it was probably the right call because they wouldn’t be allowed in with this second national lockdown”.
“That ends on the 2nd of December. We are now having discussions about what it will look like after then. We’ll go back into the tiers. I have to warn you. The tiers are going to have to be pretty tough to keep this under control. But I’m certainly making the case for fans to come back in a safe way as part of that process”.
“I hope to be successful in that. I said at the beginning of October, that the ling-stop date was the end of March. But I hope to be able to do it sooner than that”.
“It is also worth remembering that not only will we be looking at that, we’re also looking at as we roll out testing, but we’ve also got more and more tests available. I was just discussing this with the Health Secretary over the weekend, I think there’s a real opportunity to incentivize people to take the COVID test”.
“There are two separate things here; there’s making the whole environment COVID-secure, so social distancing, hand washing, etc, and as long as you comply with all of that, remember it’s not just in the stadium itself. It’s on the journey to and from home”.
“That’s why I said to SID Group, this science technology group, to look at what we can do to make that safer. If we get a degree of confidence about that, to start in a limited way in lower-risk areas, that’s what I’d love to be able to achieve”.
“I’m saying there’s a chance. We are working towards it. The PM and I would love that to happen. But we can only do it if it’s safe to do so”.