Should Fans Be Allowed On The Final Day? By Dan Smith
It seems that not everyone wants fans back in stadiums as soon as possible.
If the Government’s road map is successful from May 17th venues can host gatherings up to 10,000 people or 25 percent of capacity. The Final Day of the Premiership is 6 days later.
Some clubs though feel it would be unfair and unbalanced that in the final round of competition suddenly 10 teams would have home advantage. We would be one of those sides.
I think we know how Stan Kroenke will vote. He’s not going to care about integrity of the sport but will simply want match day revenue as soon as possible.
Yet if Brighton are still in a relegation fight, they might ask how it’s fair that Burnley got to play at an empty Emirates while they have to play in front of 10 thousand gooners which is obviously harder? I think they have a point.
As things stand Fulham vs Newcastle could be a battle for survival. There’s talk that Mike Ashley would legally challenge if their opponents got an advantage of home support when they haven’t.
Equally who ends up Europe could still be undecided.
From a business point of view you are talking about companies missing out on millions. Thanks to the Pandemic, this is one year you don’t want to be relegated or miss out on Europe, so the Premier League need to make the rules as fair as possible.
To jeopardise fairness just so 10 millionaires make a few thousand shouldn’t be a priority but, in some ways, it would be fitting, as football has been greedy throughout Covid.
There’s talk of a compromise being moving everyone’s 36th fixture back a week so that every club gets at least one home fixture where they can make some money. Because that’s what’s important.
That still doesn’t make things fair though on the pitch.
If I’m a Newcastle Fan and the Toon need a point at Fulham, I want to face them under the same conditions they faced us under at St James Park.
Their 36th game is Man City!
What would you choose?
City at home with fans then Fulham away with fans or both games in empty stadiums?
I would pick the second option!
If any games should be rearranged it should be the Carabao and/or the FA Cup Final. Both have already been offered to as test events, would make both games feel more special and could prove to UEFA that England should host the Euros.
Arsenal make as much money as any club in the world on a match day, but a 10,000 capacity won’t make much, certainly not a big enough figure to justify threatening the integrity of the whole League.
Come May 17th, it will be over a year without match day revenue. I’m sure clubs can handle one more game. Then we can start a new season in August on a level playing field with everyone with plans in place in how to make a match day experience as safe as possible.
It’s fitting though that as the rest of the country plans how to slowly come out of lockdown, English Football continues to complain, refuse to compromise, and not do what’s best for fans.
Having insisted for 12 months that the sport was allowed to carry on for the public to have an escape, at least let us have a fair end to the season!
I would love to know your opinions…
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