FOOTBALL fans could be allowed back into stadiums as early as NEXT MONTH, according to reports.
Premier League and Football League clubs could welcome supporters back into stadiums in December under plans drawn up by the Govenment, according to Sportsmail.
The Department of Culture, Media and Sport are said to have submitted proposals which would allow fans in areas where coronavirus infection rates are low to attend games for the first time since March.
While the Government are yet to officially agree to the proposal, the DCMS’s involvement is encouraging.
On Tuesday, France confirmed they will not welcome fans back to stadiums until January at the earliest.
Football fans have long bemoaned not being allowed to re-enter stadiums, while other sports and activities have welcomed back crowds, albeit in limited numbers.
Last month, West Ham boss David Moyes vented his frustration.
The Scot was left baffled after West Ham’s clash with Manchester City was played behind closed doors, but the match was screened in an indoor cinema just a ten-minute walk away.
Moyes said: “People are going watch a game in a cinema, close to here, why can we not be sitting outside in the open air doing it?
“Please come out and give us an explanation as to why we can’t do it.”
Fans being welcomed back to stadiums would provide a much-needed cash injection to a number of clubs who are reeling from the financial repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic.
On Sunday night, Boris Johnson vowed to get a football bailout ‘sorted‘ as he committed to the biggest spending on infrastructure in 70 years.
The PM ordered his minister Oliver Dowden to get the Premier League to cough up cash to help struggling clubs.
Johnson also vowed to get fans back into stadiums when lockdown is lifted next month.
Speaking to around 60 Northern Tory MPs on Zoom, he added: “I pledge that when we come out of lockdown on December 2 we will work to have the crowds to come back.
“Don’t run away with it but we need to do much better and bring the fans back.”
The current lockdown is running until December 2, as things stand.
The first round of fixtures therefore available for fans to return begin on Saturday December 5.
However, stadiums will not be at capacity, with social distancing measures still strictly in place.
In August, Brighton welcomed 2,524 fans for their side’s pre-season friendly against Chelsea, with the event a roaring success.
Originally football bosses and the Government had hoped to get fans back into stadiums from October 3, with plans shelved after a rise in Covid cases.
Culture secretary Dowden claimed the sheer number of fans who travel the country to follow their teams made sport a different animal to the likes of the cinemas and theatres.