Football is our national game and it is being ruined. Clubs are on the brink of going out of existence, livelihoods are being destroyed, jobs are being lost and all the while, there are no reasons being provided. The time to Get Fans Back is now.
As such, there is now a petition to support the movement which has over 150k signatures and now requires a response from the Government and has to be considered for a debate in Parliament. To add your support, you can sign the petition here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/552036.
At the start, playing behind closed doors was necessary. We were dealing with the unknown and every nation around the world was the same, but we are living in a different time now. Clubs have had time to make provisions and make the grounds COVID secure. We have the track and trace app and we are all used to social distancing and the wearing of masks.
There were positive steps with the trial games but then these were halted after concerns over the increase in positive tests but no further information has been provided as to when these will restart.
Whilst we wait for news, it has been revealed that Royal Albert Hall is allowed to accommodate 3000 people into its shows for the Christmas season. This is just over 56% capacity at an indoor venue.
Anybody who has seen the location of the Albert Hall will know that space outside is at a premium and car parking is practically non-existent. So the 3000 people will most likely be using public transport to get there and then sit in an indoor venue. All of this serves to increase the numbers of people being together in enclosed spaces. Yet if you are a football fan, travelling in your own car to sit in an outdoor stadium, this is not acceptable. It just does not make sense.
We have been told constantly that the virus spreads more indoors yet this is announced when outdoor venues remain closed to fans. The question therefore is why? Why is there one rule for the arts and one rule for sports?
Is there a reason that the Government deem sports fans different to those of the arts? The stereotype of football fans is beyond outdated and I actually know many people who enjoy both and would quite happily be at Elland Road in the afternoon and then at a musical in the evening.
It might be seen as just another sport to the Government but for those involved, football is part of our lives and usually it is the one constant thing we can rely on. Many fans plan their lives around matches and football has seen them through some of the toughest times in their lives.
Football helps our mental health. The stresses of the week quickly disappear when you get inside Elland Road and our “normal” life involves going to football.
We all know that it will not be a full house at Elland Road just yet, but that’s not what anybody is asking for. There needs to be a starting point and it needs to happen soon.
If they need support, then they need to speak to their counterparts in Europe where fans are being allowed back in smaller numbers.
The Government need to start working with clubs and trust them, just as they do with those in charge of the Royal Albert Hall, the O2 and the Royal Opera house.
Will the petition work, who knows? It at least gives us hope.