Morecambe will trial the return of fans this weekend

Morecambe’s home match with Cambridge United on Saturday has been confirmed as one of 10 EFL matches to trial the return of fans.

Wednesday, 16th September 2020, 1:42 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th September 2020, 1:46 pm
A limited number of Morecambe fans will be able to watch Saturday's game against Cambridge United at the Mazuma Stadium

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 announcement comes 24 hours after Shrimps’ co-chairman Graham Howse published an open letter asking for fans to be allowed to return to matches from the start of October as planned.

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EFL chairman, 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.

“The health and wellbeing 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, added: “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.”

Clubs situated in communities who are currently under a local lockdown were excluded from applying to be part of pilot.

Only a limited number of pilots were available and subject to DCMS and SGSA approval.