Yesterday afternoon, it was publicised that the EFL had requested applications from member clubs to run a pilot scheme. This was with a view to host a maximum of 1,000 supporters for a match day on Saturday.
We understand supporters’ frustrations at the club choosing not to put forward an application in anticipation for the Salford game on Saturday 19th September and we’d like to give some clarification around that decision.
We have always worked on the basis that crowds would return at the earliest in October. This was and is still the view of the EFL and the Government. We had planned for this date. We have already had one meeting of the Safety Advisory Group and a further meeting of SAG is already scheduled for Friday.
The email from the EFL arrived at the Club at 11.22am with a 2pm application deadline. This gave the club two and a half hours to be in a position where it could meet expectations and regulations to welcome supporters safely back into the stadium. After discussions, the club felt that it would not be in a position to fulfil the requirements to meet the approval of the Safety Advisory Group in such a short space of time and so did not put an application forward, in line with the majority of clubs.
Some risk assessments and other tasks for supporters’ return are not yet fully complete and the short time frame would make it near impossible for that to change. As well as that the new ticketing system is not yet fully implemented to meet track and trace responsibilities. Alongside these points, the club would have been left with the unenviable task of selecting 1000 fans from the 1200 plus season ticket applications, leaving more than 200 disappointed supporters with only a day or so notice.
The club and a number of volunteers are working hard for the return of supporters to Blundell Park and have done so with the 1st of October in mind. Blundell Park is not the same without you and we can’t wait to welcome you back when it is safe to do so.