Tue. Dec 1st, 2020

Man Utd

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Ed Woodward slams the Government for their lack of ‘consistency’ over return of fans

2 min read

Manchester United chief Ed Woodward has implored the Government to follow the lead of other European countries and allow football fans back into stadiums now.

Supporters have not been allowed to watch professional football matches in the UK since the end of March due to the coronavirus pandemic, and while other countries have begun to loosen restrictions, the Government is yet to act on British shores.

Woodward has now added his voice to the debate, insisting that every Premier League clubs are confident they could accommodate the return of fans safely.

Ed Woodward has slammed the Government for their lack of 'consistency' regarding fans

Ed Woodward has slammed the Government for their lack of ‘consistency’ regarding fans

Other European countries have begun to let their fans back in; pictured is Rennes on Tuesday

Other European countries have begun to let their fans back in; pictured is Rennes on Tuesday

Speaking on Wednesday, the United supremo said: ‘Another crucial issue for the whole of football is the reopening of stadiums to spectators as soon as the Government allows. 

‘While the situation in Greater Manchester and the UK as a whole continues to evolve, our plans for this are well advanced and we are confident of ours and the whole league’s ability to welcome them back in a safe, bio-secure environment. 

‘Crowds have been permitted to return to varying degrees in over 20 European countries, albeit with significant capacity restrictions to allow for social distancing, and we urge the UK government to follow these positive examples as soon as it is safe to do so.

‘While we recognise that public health must always be the priority, what is needed is consistency of approach. If people are allowed to sit in a plane for hours, or in the cinema, or even watch football in a cinema why not outside in a stadium environment which is professionally managed and controlled? 

Boris Johnson is still not allowing fans to return to stadiums in small numbers in the UK

Boris Johnson is still not allowing fans to return to stadiums in small numbers in the UK

Old Trafford remains empty as United wait to get the green light to begin the return of fans

Old Trafford remains empty as United wait to get the green light to begin the return of fans

‘If indoor concerts are allowed, why should outdoor, socially-distanced football fans be treated differently? Fans are the bedrock of this game and some of the inconsistencies out there are frustrating for them and for the Clubs.’

Woodward’s words will be met with plenty of positivity from other English clubs, as they patiently wait to be given the green light from the Government.

Clubs are haemorrhaging cash with no gate money coming in, and they will be desperate to open their doors once more.

United in particular have accrued huge debts in 2020, announcing on Wednesday morning that their debts have soared 133 per cent to a huge £474.1million. 

This is partly due to the lack of fans, but also due to decreased TV deals and sponsorship, as well as their outlay on new players in the transfer window. 

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