At least you’d think so, judging by the patchwork quilt of conflicting, contradictory and constantly changing rules being imposed on local communities. Non-League football clubs have become victims of politicians’ failure to create measures that are easy to follow whilst remaining capable of flexibility according to local conditions.
The ability of sport to provide safe environments for its customers is seriously underestimated, as is National League System clubs’ facilities and approach to Covid-19 protocols.
Central government’s priorities are evidenced, despite the efforts of DCMS, by the illogicality of music and arts venues being allowed to stage events with paying customers whereas ‘Elite Sport’ is prevented from doing so.
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Actually, clubs at Steps 3-6 are lucky to be playing in front of fans when those at higher levels and in other sports cannot. Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston has confirmed that football at our level can continue in front of limited crowds for the time being. But whilst this works for the majority of NPL clubs, a one-size-fits-all approach does not help our larger clubs.
I fully support the call from South Shields, FC United of Manchester and Scarborough for the basis of capacity limits to be urgently reviewed. Although Step 3 clubs, their facilities, crowds and operational planning are equal to – if not better than – many at Steps 2. They are being penalised for investing in their stadia and nurturing substantial fanbases.
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October 11, 2020