[ENT] Parliament to debate return of football fans following successful petition

Parliament will discuss the possibility of letting fans return to matches after a petition reached over 190,000 signatures.

Football in England has been played behind closed doors since the country went into lockdown back in March.

Leicester’s win over Aston Villa on March 9 was the last Premier League game to be played in front of a packed house.

But Parliament will now debate whether fans should be allowed back into stadiums on November 9.

The debate will take place in Westminster Hall with a member of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in attendance.

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Domestic football returned back in June after a lengthy absence and following its conclusion the new condensed season is now underway.

Football in England is still being played behind closed doors

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There has been a growing frustration among fans that other events have been allowed to take place with crowds while they remain unable to watch their teams play.

A lack of matchday revenue has also seen clubs, especially lower down the football league, seek help as they struggle to cope financially.

However Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden reiterated on Wednesday morning that fans will not be allowed to return while coronavirus cases continue to rise.

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He said: “Yes of course I accept people’s frustration at the inconsistency there. The simple reason is, we had sports on a path to return to normality. We were one of the first in the world to achieve football back and being played behind closed doors.

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“The next phase was pilot games with social distanced spectators in stadia. I desperately wanted that to happen (go further than the pilots).

Parliament will now debate the return of football fans

“Because of where we are with the rapid rise we have not been able to have that. The advice from the scientific community is that we should be imposing restrictions not further easing.

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“We were ready to go. They were successful. We were ready to go from Oct 1. We had to pause it because of the rapid expansion of the disease. It is not just the stadium. It is the journey, people want to have something to eat on the way. That’s not to say that can’t be mitigated.

“We’d be increasing social interaction while imposing further restrictions.

“I want to rapidly return to this decision.We are ready to go when we get the starting gun fired

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“We got PL and Championship up and running early on and got money back in the sport because of that.”

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