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Government hopes fans can return NEXT MONTH

The government is reported to have plans in hand for the return of fans to Premier League and EFL NEXT MONTH according to the Daily Mail.

The ‘paper claims to have learned that sources close to negotiations  ay officials at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport have now submitted proposals to the Cabinet Office for spectators to attend games in areas where coronavirus infection rates are low, once the second national lockdown is lifted.

That is supposed to be on December 2 although yesterday Health Secretary Matt Hancock claimed it will depend on figures showing deaths and infections are falling as the result of the first week of national lockdown in figures sue to arrive over the next few days.

It appears that after the Department DCMS has been told to put football on a par with other activities, following months of criticism that the arts has been allowed to admit an audience, while football has not.

Fans would have to be socially distanced and maximum capacity would be capped as happened when Brighton held a test event in August when Chelsea visited the Amex Stadium

There would be a way to go however, as social distancing would have to be in place as was the case when Chelsea were visitors to a match at Brighton in August.

And it also means that only fans in tier 1 and 2 areas would be allowed into grounds, subject to certain conditions. That adds a complication to things as ministers consider a four-tier system with a different set of rules once lockdown ends nationally.

The move will please clubs who have argued for ages that allowing arts lovers the opportunity of sitting inside the Royal Albert Hall doesn’t make sense when people can’t watch football outside which is cited as  a safer area in the current circumstances.

How the fixtures would be affected on a seasonal basis with some geographical areas allowed to play games but not others is another problem for football to consider.

However, the news puts flesh on the bones of news this morning that plans were under consideration although everything depends obviously on infection and death rates falling with the R number returning to at least .

That is unlikely to happen until we see the effects of the national lockdown in figures due to be published next week or later this.

Having said all that the news will bring more optimism to fans and cash starved clubs that there is finally some light at the end of the tunnel.

The Mail says that the absence of fans has placed clubs under enormous financial pressure, with ten struggling to make their payroll this month and others racking up huge debts.

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About Hugh5outhon1895

Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!" Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon