Charlton Athletic are calling for the safe return of fans to football.
Despite the success of the club’s test event against Doncaster Rovers on September 19th which saw 1,000 supporters come through the turnstiles at The Valley to support the team in a safe and socially-distant manner, government guidelines are now currently preventing supporters from returning.
Alongside the EFL, Premier League, the FA, Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship, the club are urging the government to allow us to return fans safely to stadiums.
It was recently announced that major arts and music venues have been told they can run socially-distanced events indoors and, with the Prime Minister urging people to attend such events, including cinemas, the club believes football should be allowed to be part of this positive progression.
“We had a thousand people in here when we played Doncaster,” explained Charlton owner Thomas Sandgaard.
“Just watching how it was all organised, it was one of the safest places to be in all of London. So, I’m a little perplexed by it.
“I hope that, well before the end of the season, we can get a few thousand fans back in the stadium.”
He added: “Unfortunately, there might be a few other clubs throughout this season, because of the missing ticket sales and other opportunities, that will see their financial situation bring them towards administration and that would be so sad.”
Meanwhile, Addicks boss Lee Bowyer has also urged for a change to ensure fans can make a safe return to The Valley.
“No matter how little come through the door, it’s important,” he said.
“Not just financially, but for the game. The game needs fans and it needs that atmosphere. We’ve definitely been missing that.
“To allow people back to cinemas in an indoor environment doesn’t make sense because we know that it’s so much more difficult for COVID to spread outdoors than indoors. So, to allow people to go into cinemas but not football stadiums, considering how safely it's run, makes no sense to me.”
Supporters have been encouraged to sign a petition to allow football fans to attend matches at all levels, with over 160,000 people having added their names at the time of asking. Click here to sign the petition.