Closed petition Allow the return of spectators to football at all levels below national league
This petition has been started with the intention of securing the safe return of non league/grassroots football to secure the future of football at a local level.
Non league football holds a special place in the community for young and old, the Government's unclear guidance has led to some clubs withdrawing from their leagues and a few folding all together, all because the Government hasn’t made a clear enough decision regarding the start date of fans attending games.
I request that all football below the national league north/south be allowed to return along side current government guidelines in terms of socially distancing and sanitation.
This petition is closed All petitions run for 6 months
This response was given on 7 September 2020
On 18 Aug, the Government amended its guidance to provide extra clarification for organisers of non-elite sports events to help them manage and admit spectators safely, adhering to social distancing.
Read the response in full
Football clubs, at all levels, form the bedrock of our local communities. There have been countless examples during the pandemic of football clubs across the country demonstrating their importance to their local area, volunteering both time and money during these difficult times.
The Government has worked to get sports back up and running over the past few months. We were able to get elite sports - including the Premier League - back behind closed doors in June, allowing seasons to be finished and vital revenues to flow into the game. We have been clear with the football authorities that we expect these revenues to be used to help the whole game, rather than just the top tiers to whom they flow directly. To this end the Premier League announcement to advance funds of £125 million to clubs in the EFL and National League is welcomed. The government continues to liaise with the football authorities to understand their work to help the wider football family.
The guidance under which elite sport was able to resume (Elite sport guidance stages 1-5) does not apply to individuals or teams who do not meet the definition of elite sportspeople contained within the guidance. Non-elite football is covered by the Return to recreational team sport framework, and the supplementary guidance provided by The FA within that overall government framework. We have updated the section on spectators to provide more guidance to clubs on the steps they need to take to safely manage any crowds. The FA has also updated its guidance to reflect this.
It is up to the respective governing bodies to determine what constitutes the boundary between elite and non-elite within their sports. The FA’s definition means that leagues below the National Leagues North and South can continue with spectators.
We continue to work closely with all sports, including the interests of football from National League and above to support the safe return of spectators to stadia more widely from October 1st. As announced by the Prime Minister, this remains subject to successful pilots events and wider prevailing public health factors, both of which remain under active consideration.
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Other parliamentary business
MPs debate Government support for culture, media and sport in light of covid-19
On 8 September, MPs debated the Government's spending on support measures for culture, media and sport during and after the covid-19 pandemic.
Watch the debate here: https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/0d08c5bb-04d0-4a34-b1d1-8efba0179f9c?in=14:36:54
Read the transcript of the debate here: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2020-10-08/debates/4D1CBDF7-EC03-4509-90D0-C3214FAA33BE/DigitalCultureMediaAndSportSupportMeasures
Find out how to get involved in the work of the UK Parliament: https://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/
Find out about the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/378/digital-culture-media-and-sport
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Share your views on the importance of football clubs
The Petitions Committee would like to hear your views on why football clubs are important, and who you think should be responsible for ensuring they survive the Covid-19 pandemic.
Share your views by completing this anonymous survey: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/CYLH7W/.
The survey will close at 9am on Monday 2 November.
What you told us about the importance of football clubs
Thanks to everyone who contributed to the Petitions Committee's work on this issue by completing our survey on the importance of football clubs to fans and their local communities.
A summary of the over-13,000 responses we received can be viewed here: https://committees.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/14361/default/.
Don't forget to tune in to the debate on this petition at 4.30pm this Monday 9 November, which you can watch live here: https://youtu.be/sYU-qzMgWog.
Follow the Committee on Twitter for real-time updates on its work on this issue: https://www.twitter.com/hocpetitions. You can join the discussion using hashtag #FootballFansDebate.