Old Trafford Modified For 23,500 Socially Estranged Fans
Manchester United have modified Old Trafford to accommodate 23,500 socially estranged spectators, insisting they are “baffled” by the current ban on fans in stadiums.
The government had proposed that the crowds be gradually reintroduced since early October, but took a 180-degree turn after a surge in coronavirus cases.
“We got the guidance from the government,” said Collette Roche, United’s chief operating officer. “I’m convinced that we could (accommodate the fans) safely.”
Last month, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the new restrictions are likely to remain in place for the next six months.
The financial impact of the pandemic has severely affected several sports and teams, including United, which suffered a £ 70 million drop in expected revenue in the period to June 30, 2020, as a direct result of the pandemic.
Roche told Sky Sports News: “It is quite puzzling to understand why people can gather in other settings, such as on an airplane or in a restaurant, or even in a movie theater to watch football, when we know we have the plans and the process. is ready to deliver a game day here safely.
“We spent about two months working with the government guidelines to develop the correct processes and measures to ensure that we can have around 23,500 people in this stadium with safe social distancing.”
She added that United had plans to introduce staggered arrival times for fans and temperature controls prior to entry to minimize risks.
In early October, Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said the clubs had been hit with a “quadruple hit” by the continuing ban.
He told the Times: “First, the optimism of October 1 has been removed; secondly, that there will be a sports rescue but that it would not include football; third, the Premier League is expected to secure the future of the EFL while grappling with the implications of not having a following until possibly March; finally, the opening of entertainment stadiums sometimes a couple of miles from soccer fields without any roadmap for the return of soccer fans. ”
Premier League football could be watched for free via subscription channels after last season’s resumption in the summer, but a controversial additional pay-per-view fee of £ 14.95 has since been introduced for some games.
Fans boycotting these games have raised more than £ 300,000 for charity, and the TV plan will continue at least until next month’s international recess.