Fans return to football matches this weekend as part of pilot programme

Ten EFL Clubs will be permitted to admit spectators into Sky Bet League matches this weekend as part of the ongoing ‘return of fans’ pilot programme.

As per the current guidance, crowds will be capped at a capacity of 1,000 as discussions continue with the Government about return for supporters’ in greater numbers post October 1, 2020. 

The move to extend the programme follows a successful pilot staged at Cambridge United last week when fans were in attendance at a professional football match for the first time since March.

The confirmed games for the weekend of 19/20 September, 2020 are as follows: 

Championship

  • Luton Town v Derby County

  • Norwich City v Preston North End

  • Middlesbrough v AFC Bournemouth

League One

  • Charlton Athletic v Doncaster Rovers

  • Blackpool v Swindon Town

  • Shrewsbury Town v Northampton Town

  • Hull City v Crewe Alexandra

League Two

  • Forest Green Rovers v Bradford City

  • Carlisle United v Southend United

  • Morecambe v Cambridge United 

EFL Chair, Rick Parry said:

It’s encouraging that we are in a position to move forward with the next phase of the pilot programme and give a small number of our Clubs the opportunity to welcome back up to a 1,000 fans this week.

EFL Chair, Rick Parry

He continued: “The health and well-being of supporters and their wider communities remains the priority, but as we showed at Cambridge, social distancing can be applied safely. By extending across more EFL Clubs we hope to further demonstrate that the measures developed can allow fans to return in greater numbers from as early as next month.

 “The requirement to welcome spectators back through turnstiles has not diminished in any way, the financial challenges facing EFL Clubs have been explained on numerous occasions, they are substantial and a problem that requires immediate solutions."

 Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden said:

I know that many fans are eager to return to football and that jobs depend on this too, so fans will welcome news that the EFL will be running number capped, covid secure, and socially distanced pilots this weekend. This will help us build the evidence base to see how we can return fans safely in greater numbers as soon as it is safe to do so.

Oliver Dowden, Culture Secretary