Southport FC say they could “manage the return of fans tomorrow” as the #LetFansIn campaign continues to gather support.
Director Ian Kyle says bringing back live football to our town “would be the ideal tonic for many to get them back out and about, and to help return to ‘normality’.”
The Sandgrounders are looking forward to their return to the National league North for 2020/21, after last season was cut short when the coronavirus pandemic hit the UK in March.
A group of MPs, including Southport MP Damien Moore, are currently asking for a special exemption that enables non-League football clubs to welcome fans back into their grounds.
Led by former Sports Minister Tracey Crouch and Dame Cheryl Gillan, the group wrote has written to current Minister for Sport, Nigel Huddleston, urging him to recognise the distinction between non-League clubs – which rely on gate receipts as opposed to TV deals to survive – and those in the Premier League and the English Football League.
While the Government is hopeful of seeing fans return to professional football grounds by October 1, the #LetFansIn campaign wants that date to be brought forward for non-League clubs to reduce the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Southport FC Director Ian Kyle joined the club in 2017 and says they have made huge changes at the Pure Stadium to make the facilities safe.
Ian, a Partner and joint owner of Liverpool-based law firm, Irvings Law, grew up as part of a large footballing family and was a trialist at Tranmere Rovers and discussed a YTS apprenticeship with Manchester City before choosing to pursue his education instead while playing for over 10 years with Liverpool Ramblers FC in Crosby. Football is very much in his blood.
He said: “As regards the Let Fans In campaign it is clearly a difficult balance, complying with the ever-changing Government guidelines whilst, most crucially, ensuring everyone stays safe and healthy.
“From the perspective of Southport FC, we are spending hours on end each week to ensure that we are carrying out all the necessary safety and anti-Covid measures needed to make The Pure Stadium a safe environment.
“We are ensuring that social distancing is maintained, that there are sufficient hand sanitising stations around the ground, and face masks are worn as and when necessary.
“The appropriate Covid cleans are carried out on a regular basis.
“To that end, we are more than confident that the club is a safe environment and that we could manage the return of fans tomorrow if necessary.
“Live football would indeed be the ideal tonic for many to get them back out and about, and to help return to ‘normality’.
“This is even more the case when you consider that we are in the outdoors as was recommended so highly by the Government from early on in the lockdown.
“I am sure, like me, you have driven past many full pubs and restaurants of late which makes it all the more frustrating.”
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