Manchester United chief Ed Woodward has questioned why football fans are not being allowed back into stadiums while some indoor concerts have been permitted to restart.Woodward said he accepted public health was the priority, but said he is confident United can provide a safe setting for the return of supporters.
Ed Woodward said: “If people are allowed to sit in a plane for hours, or in the cinema, or even watch football in a cinema why not outside in a stadium environment which is professionally managed and controlled? If indoor concerts are allowed, why should outdoor, socially-distanced football fans be treated differently? Fans are the bedrock of this game and some of the inconsistencies out there are frustrating for them and for the clubs. While the situation in Greater Manchester and the UK as a whole continues to evolve, our plans for this are well advanced and we are confident of ours and the whole league’s ability to welcome them back in a safe, bio-secure environment. Crowds have been permitted to return to varying degrees in over 20 European countries, albeit with significant capacity restrictions to allow for social distancing, and we urge the UK government to follow these positive examples as soon as it is safe to do so. While we recognise that public health must always be the priority, what is needed is consistency of approach.”
The club’s executive vice-chairman said he was confident that fans could be welcomed back to Old Trafford in a ‘safe, bio-secure environment’. Some indoor venues have been allowed to re-open, including the Royal Opera House in London’s Covent Garden, for socially distanced performances. Eyebrows were also raised following an event at the London Palladium, where former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger gave a talk to promote his new book. Meanwhile supporters of ‘elite’ football clubs are unable to return to stadiums to support their teams. The Government previously said it hoped to start letting fans back into grounds this month, but this was cancelled as cases started to rise again.
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