Brighton will appeal to the government to allow fans back into grounds

‘That would allow us to stand on our own two feet’: Brighton will appeal to the government to allow fans back into grounds, club chief Paul Barber insists… despite long wait looming after government clampdown

  • Brighton CEO Paul Barber is keen for supporters to be allowed back into stadia 
  • The latest government Covid-19 crackdown has pushed back the expected date
  • Premier League clubs hoped fans could return in limited numbers from October
  • But despite the setback, Barber insists Brighton will appeal to the government

Brighton will appeal to the government to allow supporters back into grounds despite the latest coronavirus crackdown, club CEO Paul Barber has insisted.

The string of draconian measures unveiled recently saw clubs rocked with the prospect of behind closed doors clashes for the foreseeable future – and fans will not be able to return in October as originally planned.

But Barber, who has proved one of the more vocal top flight chiefs over the issue, remains keen for venues to be reopened.

Brighton CEO Paul Barber says the club will appeal to the government to allow fans to return

The club were chosen for a test event in August – but similar pilots have now been paused

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a series of measures intended to prevent a second surge in Covid-19 infections, and also delivered a stark warning that they may be in place for as long as six months.

The restrictions include a ‘pause’ on pilot events which welcome back a limited number of spectators to sporting events. 

Brighton were one of the clubs selected for a trial and Barber believes that the success of the event, coupled a looming financial nightmare, means that the government should reconsider their stance.  

He told BT Sport: ‘One way we could help to power our own way is to try and bring fans back, that would allow us to stand on our own two feet, we held a test event and there was no risk whatsoever, and there are other totally unregulated events that are allowed to occur. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has unveiled sweeping measures to reduce Covid-19 infections

‘We are going to appeal to the Government to allow football clubs to run their businesses.’ 

The south coast outfit’s friendly draw with Chelsea in August saw 2,524 spectators able to socially distance around the Amex, with strict measures and temperature checks helping to ensure a safe atmosphere.  

However, similar events have now been postponed. The UK is weighing up its options to suppress a potential second peak, with curfews, local lockdowns and the shielding of vulnerable individuals all enforced.  

The ever-shifting nature of the disease has forced the sporting world into another re-think. 

Top flight clubs hoped supporters could be welcomed back in a limited capacity next month

West Ham vice-chair Karren Brady also says football is ready to welcome fans back to games 

But Barber also sensationally claimed last week that Premier League clubs believe they will be able to provide supporters with a safer environment in comparison to watching games in their own homes.

His viewpoint has been echoed by fellow top flight chief Karren Brady. The West Ham vice chair told The Sun that football is ready for the return of fans, regardless of the rise in infections and the government’s Rule of Six.

She also revealed that clubs are losing around £80million in matchday revenue every month.

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