Wed, 25
13 °C
Thu, 26
8 °C
Fri, 27
7 °C

MP Tan Dhesi lends support to calls for fans to be allowed back into National League football grounds

Slough MP Tan Dhesi lent his support to Slough Town this week by speaking on behalf of National League clubs in the House of Commons to see what the Government’s plan is for the return of fans to 'elite' football grounds.

The Government’s decision to pause the return of fans to elite club grounds at step two and above led to clubs in the National League North and South threatening to delay the start of the season until either a small number were let back or a support package was found to tide clubs over. The decision was taken despite a number of successful pilot schemes across the National League and after clubs had undertaken considerable work to ensure their grounds are COVID-19 secure. At present clubs at non-league step three and below can have up to 600 fans at their matches.

A support package, thought to be worth up to £3million per month across the three divisions, has been hurriedly put together by the Government following pressure from clubs and the prospect of the start of the season being further delayed.

Speaking this week MP Dhesi said: “The government’s chaotic handling of the pandemic has had major consequences for sports clubs, with some having already been wound up.

“Clubs like Slough, which have been in existence for more than 100 years are much more than a football club. They are a community, a family, providing social interaction, community cohesion, and supporting people’s mental and physical well-being.

“Despite some last-minute support announced last night, there is still no clear government plan for fans to be able to return, to some extent, which will no doubt bring even more to the brink of collapse. So, Minister what is the government’s plan?”

Slough’s joint boss Jon Underwood was thankful to MP Dhesi for the representation he made on non-league clubs’ behalf, and he’s relieved to hear the club will receive some financial help over the coming six months. However, he’d much rather have fans back in the ground and believes it could be done safely, despite the rising numbers of infections nationwide. The Rebels kick off their campaign with an FA Cup second qualifying round tie at Dartford this Saturday.

“The pilots went really well,” he said. “The clubs have put in a tremendous amount of work to ensure the grounds are COVID safe.

“I want to feel hopeful that the decision made by Government may change and they’ll allow some fans in.

“It benefits everybody if you can get people in the grounds because it means the government don’t have to find the money.

“We’d budgeted on a smaller crowd this year. If it was 600 hundred, it would be a reduction, but it would be enough to get by. That would solve a lot of problems. The funding is great in that it allows us to start the season. The worst scenario would have been no funding, no fans in. At that point we wouldn’t have started the season. To not be able to do that and to delay the season would have been a nightmare scenario.

“The funding allows us to start but it’s not what we want, we want fans in. it’s just not the same, it doesn’t have the same feel for us and the players.

“I think now you realise what a big part that is. We would have been going to Dartford on Saturday with 1,500-1,600 people there, 300 from Slough and the atmosphere would have been brilliant. You realise what a big part of football it is, to have your fans behind the goal singing, it’s just not the same playing to an empty stadium. Of course, we’ll still be up for it, we’ll want to do well but it’s just not the same.”

Slough MP Tan Dhesi lent his support to Slough Town this week by speaking on behalf of National League clubs in the House of Commons to see what the Government’s plan is for the return of fans to 'elite' football grounds.

The Government’s decision to pause the return of fans to elite club grounds at step two and above led to clubs in the National League North and South threatening to delay the start of the season until a small number were let back in or a support package was found to tide clubs over.

The decision was taken despite a number of successful pilot schemes across the National League and after clubs had undertaken considerable work to ensure their grounds are COVID-19 secure. At present clubs at non-league step three and below can have up to 600 fans at their matches.

A support package, thought to be worth up to £3million per month across the three divisions, has been hurriedly put together by the Government following pressure from clubs.

Speaking this week MP Dhesi said: “Clubs like Slough, which have been in existence for more than 100 years, are much more than a football club. Despite some last-minute support announced last night, there is still no clear government plan for fans to be able to return, to some extent, which will no doubt bring even more to the brink of collapse. So, Minister what is the government’s plan?”

Slough’s joint boss Jon Underwood was thankful to MP Dhesi for the representation he made on the clubs’ behalf, and he’s relieved to hear the club will receive some financial help over the coming months. However, he’d much rather have fans back in the ground and believes it could be done safely, despite the rising numbers of infections nationwide. The Rebels kick off their campaign with an FA Cup second qualifying round tie at Dartford this Saturday.

“The pilots went really well,” he said. “The clubs have put in a tremendous amount of work to ensure the grounds are COVID safe.

“I want to feel hopeful that the decision made by Government may change and they’ll allow some fans in.

“It benefits everybody if you can get people in the grounds because it means the government don’t have to find the money.

“We’d budgeted on a smaller crowd this year. If it was 600 hundred, it would be a reduction, but it would be enough to get by. That would solve a lot of problems.

“The funding is great in that it allows us to start the season. The worst scenario would have been no funding, no fans in. At that point we wouldn’t have started the season. To not be able to do that and to delay the season would have been a nightmare scenario for us.

“The funding allows us to start but it’s not what we want, we want fans in.

“It’s just not the same, it doesn’t have the same feel for us and the players.

“I think now you realise what a big part that is. We would have been going to Dartford on Saturday with 1,500-1,600 people there, 300 from Slough and the atmosphere would have been brilliant. You realise what a big part of football it is, to have your fans behind the goal singing, it’s just not the same playing to an empty stadium.

“Of course, we’ll still be up for it, we’ll want to do well but it’s just not the same.”

Leave your comment

Share your opinions on

Characters left: 1500

comment

  • SpeakasIfind

    12:26, 07 October 2020

    When will this guy focus his attention on SLOUGH?! The town... he was voted in and I'm yet to see him make a postivie difference.

    Reply

    Report

Editor's Picks

Most read

Top Ten Articles