EFL chairman Rick Parry admits decision to allow fans inside stadiums from December 2 was ‘a huge surprise to League One and Two clubs who will still have safety officers on FURLOUGH’
- Boris Johnson said on Monday some fans will be allowed back from December 2
- Both League One and League Two have full schedules the evening before
- Supporters haven’t been allowed at Football League matches since March
- EFL chairman Rick Parry had not anticipated fans returning until after Christmas
EFL chairman Rick Parry admits the government’s decision to allow fans back into stadiums in December came as a ‘huge surprise’ to League One and League Two clubs who will still have safety officers on furlough.
Parry praised the decision, saying it is a lifeline for lower-league clubs but didn’t, however, expect fans to be allowed back into grounds until after Christmas.
EFL chairman Rick Parry said the decision to allow fans back in December was a ‘huge surprise’
Parry told Radio Four’s Today programme: ‘Some clubs will still have safety officers on furlough, it’s taken everyone a bit by surprise.
‘We weren’t really expecting anything before Christmas. There’s a lot of work to do quite quickly and it’s really important that we get this right.
‘It’s not a case of rushing into this and tripping over. It’s a case of being measured, getting it right.
Clubs have been hit hard financially due to not having supporters in attendance since March
‘The clubs will be taken by surprise because they were expecting nothing really before Christmas. We’ve been involved in discussions with the DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) who’ve been incredibly supportive.
‘Clearly it’s something we’ve been pressing for but it’s literally in the last few days that it has become a reality.’
HOW FANS WILL RETURN IN DIFFERENT AREAS
4,000 spectators/ 50 per cent capacity for outdoor events, whichever is lower, and 2,000/ 50 per cent capacity for indoor
2,000 spectators/50 per cent capacity outdoors, whichever is lower, and 1,000/ 50 per cent indoors
Ban on spectators remains
Parry now wants try to move some of next Tuesday’s League One and League Two matches to Wednesday in order to get fans in as quickly as possible.
He said: ‘We welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement because clearly we’ve been pushing for the return of fans for some considerable time.
‘We have to build upon it because what we are really looking forward to is getting fans back in more substantial numbers but this is a really welcome start.
‘At League One and League Two level it could be very significant. It’s not just the money it’s a very welcome return to an atmosphere, and if we get 4,000 at League Two level it would be very welcome. It can be a very welcome lifeline.’
‘It’s great news for fans, they’ve been missing their football. All being well this is just the start.’
While some clubs will have to continue to play behind closed doors under the Government’s three-tier system, those in tiers one and two can allow fans in.
Bournemouth, QPR, Sunderland, Oxford, Plymouth and Colchester are among the clubs due to host matches on December 1, who could in theory switch to 24 hours later.
‘We need the detail,’ added Parry. ‘Clearly we have a number of games taking place on December 1, in theory we will be as flexible as we can if they can be moved to December 2. But we don’t know which clubs will be in which tier yet.
‘We won’t know that until Thursday. We will need permissions from the safety advisory groups, we need to know this is done properly so it’s one step at a time.’
Parry said he had expected matches to continue behind closed doors until after Christmas