Fans ARE allowed into non-league games - but details are awaited

The FA is expected to explain on Wednesday how many fans will be allowed into non-league games at Isthmian League level and below.

Tuesday, 18th August 2020, 10:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th August 2020, 10:52 pm
Spot the fan at this Selsey v Bognor friendly ... but now supporters are set to return to grounds at non-league step three and below / Picture: Tommy McMillan

They are expected to issue new guidance after the government said all divisions below Natiional League did not count as elite level sport, so did not have to wait for the go-ahead to admit fans in the same way top-level sport venues did.

It has left many confused, with some feeling the government is implying clubs at non-league step three and below have never been subject to the same 'behind closed doors' rules as higher leagues.

But the main thing is that the new guidance will allow the Isthmian League and Southern Combination teams to begin their seasons in September with fans in the ground - while FA Cup, Vase and Trophy games will also be in front of fans.

They key will be whether fans can be admitted straight away - and in what sort of numbers. It may be that an overall limit on numbers at any one game is set, or a percentage of a ground's capacity can be used. Either way, it is surely something most if not all clubs will be able to work with.

Clubs across the country have warned it is not financially viable for them to play without fans as people coming through the turnstiles and using food and bar facilities are a large and essential part of their income.

Only on Monday night the Isthmian League warned it would not be able to start on September 19 as planned if the go-ahead was not given this week for fans to come back in by then. Perhaps someone took note of their words...?