Date set for Portsmouth fans to be allowed back into Fratton Park

The Football Association are having discussions about how fans can return to games as early as September.

Thursday, 18th June 2020, 8:23 am
Updated Friday, 19th June 2020, 4:01 pm

The FA chief executive, Mark Bullingham, has stated they are exploring the possibility of supporters being let into stadia within the next three months, according to reports.

The Premier League returned last night behind closed doors as the next step was taken towards a form of normality amid the coronavirus crisis.

All the signs from the English game’s governing body was that would remain the case for an extended period to ensure matches could take place safely.

But Bullingham is now increasingly confident the kind of progress is being made tackling Covid-19 to open the doors to supporters as early as the start of next season.

The current timeframe sees the 2020-21 campaign beginning in September, and any fans being allowed through the turnstiles would offer a fillip to clubs facing financial oblivion amid the crisis.

Bullingham told The Guardian: ‘I would really hope that by the return of the new season we might be in a position whereby some fans could start to return to stadiums. I know that would be another important part of restoring the financial position of clubs.

‘When we look ahead to September, we are hoping we are in a very different situation than we are now as a country, and we hope at some point we can start having crowds back.

Fans in the Fratton End at Fratton Park

‘We’re looking at loads of options; we’re even getting people to map out what traffic flows (of fans) look like in stadia, explore what it could look like with one-metre, two-metre social distancing and so on.’

Bullingham’s statement chimes with Culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, suggesting supporters could be back at games in September.

There were also some reporters last week EFL bosses were also keen to adhere to that timetable, although an FA executive speaking publicly on the issue represents progress towards that target.

Pompey are already looking at a massive hole in their budget with season-ticket sales and corporate hospitality their key revenue drivers.

The clubs most recently published accounts shows ticket sales and hospitality income generated £7.44m of the club’s £11.5m turnover, with sponsorship (£1.02m) and other football related income (£472,000) covering a further £1.49m.

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