EFL details COVID-19 guidelines for returning fans

The English Football League (EFL) has outlined a number of rules for fans to adhere to as some of its clubs prepare to welcome spectators back into stadiums this week.

English clubs in Tier 2 areas will be able to welcome up to 2,000 fans from tomorrow (Wednesday), in line with new guidelines outlined last week.

All clubs will be required to prepare and distribute a supporters’ code of conduct for any match-attending ticket holders. The EFL has sought feedback from a number of areas, including some clubs involved in pilot matches in September to develop its own code of conduct.

The EFL stressed that its code is not a ‘one size fits all’ policy and has been drafted to help clubs as it is appropriate for their local circumstances.

Fans are being advised to plan journeys in advance and arrive at the stadium in plenty of time, with normal entry points potentially being closed and additional procedures such as temperature testing being carried out.

Fans will be required to adhere to social distancing when at the ground and must wear face coverings when entering and exiting the stadium. Some amenities such as toilets and food and drink outlets may not be in operation or may be operating at reduced capacity.

Fans are also being advised to avoid unnecessary movement and remain in their seat/standing location for the full match, including at half-time. Supporters are also encouraged to not mix with fans outside of their support bubble when celebrating goals, and to avoid touching the ball if it goes into the stands.

The EFL added that clubs will reserve the right to eject any supporter that fails to comply with the code of conduct, and has warned fans that future stadium capacities may be negatively impacted as a result of any safety issues that arise.

EFL chairman Rick Parry told the Press Association news agency: “It’s been a long time. I’ve got used to going to games with no fans and enjoyed it, but it’s definitely not the same.

“This is a really exciting day, but the other point to make is that it’s just a step. We’re sure it will succeed, clubs will definitely embrace this properly and enthusiastically, fans will as well. The pilots we held (in September) were extremely successful in terms of everybody behaving sensibly, everybody feeling safe, everybody enjoying themselves.

“We’ve every reason to believe that will be repeated and so the hope is that as we get to the spring we will see, step by step, increases in numbers, because as I said this doesn’t solve the problems, it is very much step one, but a very, very welcome step one.”

Luton Town, Wycombe Wanderers, Charlton Athletic, Shrewsbury Town, Cambridge United and Carlisle United are set to welcome fans to their home matches tomorrow.

Image: EFL