Gosport boss Gale baffled by ‘strange’ decisions in non-league football during the pandemic

Gosport Borough boss Shaun Gale is baffled by some of the 'strange' decisions implemented on clubs at non-league level during the pandemic.

Friday, 2nd October 2020, 11:47 am
Gosport boss Shaun Gale. Picture: Tom Phillips

And he believes a common sense approach needs to be adopted before applying any further restrictions for teams outside of the EFL as the crisis continues.

At present, clubs playing at step 3 level or below are permitted to allow supporters to attend matches in accordance with social distancing measures.

However, all teams within the three National League divisions are being forced to begin the season behind closed doors.

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It's a decision Gale does not understand and cannot see why all stadiums at non-league level should not be able to allow at least some supporters to attend.

The Borough boss pinpointed his side's FA Cup tie with higher division Hereford this weekend as to how clubs at step 3 level and below will also be hit because of that ruling.

Gosport are only permitted to allow entry to 600 home supporters, meaning a potential large away following cannot attend - hitting the gate receipts which will still be shared between both clubs.

‘I find it strange,' said Gale. ‘First and foremost, there are more important things going on than football.

'But I also get that football is a big part of a lot of peoples’ lives.

‘If they put a restriction on it, why can we have 600 at Gosport but you can’t have the same at Westleigh Park for a Havant game?

‘I don’t get it, it’s a very strange decision.

‘I get there are difficult decisions to be made, but for me it just doesn’t stack up.

'What’s the difference? They can do exactly as we do, have the same protocol in place - which I know they have - but they can’t do it.

‘It really is a strange one.

‘Hereford, on a normal year without Covid, they could bring up to 800/900 fans and that’s a lot of revenue to our football club.

‘It’s a massive amount of money missing out through gate money and Hereford are missing out as well.

‘All of our hospitality, all of the burger bars, all the extra money that you would earn from this game, is taken away from us.

‘I get that it’s difficult for the Government to make lots of decisions at the moment.

‘But it needs someone with some common sense to come in and go, ‘hold on a minute, why can’t the National Leagues have restricted attendances?'

The Government have confirmed financial support will be provided to National League clubs.

But teams at step 3 level and below will not be part of that package as supporters can presently attend matches.

However, Gale has also questioned why Gosport and other clubs at their level have received no financial help during the pandemic.

‘When the club was closed and when we had lockdown, it still cost money to run the football club,’ he said.

‘There’s still bills and ground rents that have got to be paid and all sorts, it’s not cheap either.

‘It looks like they (the National League) are going to get a bailout from the Government. If that’s the case, and these football clubs are getting money - I’m not saying they shouldn’t get it - but why is the money not getting fed further down the ladder?'