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Sport Karren Brady SLAMS delay in bringing fans back to match-days

17:20  19 september  2020
17:20  19 september  2020 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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Karren Brady believes football is ready for fans to return to matches , regardless of the UK's snowballing rise in infections and the Government's 'A Premier League football stadium is the safest place you can be. Safer than your own living room': Karren Brady SLAMS delay in bringing fans

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a close up of Karren Brady: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

Karren Brady believes football is ready for fans to return to matches, regardless of the UK's snowballing rise in infections and the Government's Rule of Six.

Premier League clubs are set for their second match-day of 2020-21 behind-closed-doors this weekend amid a backdrop of worrying coronavirus infection numbers and stress over an imminent second national lockdown.

However, West Ham vice-chairman Brady is confident that fans could safely attend matches amid the protocols already in place at grounds - with the Government allowing some clubs to have 1,000 fans watch live his week.

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Karren Brady looking at the camera: West Ham vice-chair Karren Brady insists football is ready to welcome fans back to games © Provided by Daily Mail West Ham vice-chair Karren Brady insists football is ready to welcome fans back to games a large stadium: Brady believes fans are safer in football stadiums than in their own living rooms at home © Provided by Daily Mail Brady believes fans are safer in football stadiums than in their own living rooms at home

'Premier League football stadium is the safest place you can be. Safer than your own living room,' Brady told the Sun.

'Our highly supervised environment means supporters are safer in there than if they were mixing informally in their own homes.

'The precautions taken against players catching it have been exhaustive and highly successful. Staff have become expert testers and players, with very few exceptions, have not strayed.

'The Government trusted us to restart last season and we should by now have earned its support in staging matches in front of crowds.

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a football player on a field: The Premier League is getting into its second 2020-21 match-day behind-closed-doors © Provided by Daily Mail The Premier League is getting into its second 2020-21 match-day behind-closed-doors

'Frankly, 1,000 spectators in, say, West Ham’s London Stadium — which has 66,000 seats — is so wide of that objective it rivals me in high heels shooting for goal from 25 yards. It is both laughable and irrelevant.'

With infection rates rising rapidly in Spain and France, the UK is weighing-up its options to get ahead of another spiral - with curfews, local lockdowns, shielding of vulnerable people and a second nationwide lockdown all being considered.

'Circuit breaker' lockdowns could also be deployed, closing pubs and restaurants or at least limiting their opening-hours for 14 days while introducing curfews and only allowing socialising with members of an individual's own household.

The circuit breaker measures could be announced as early as Tuesday, and would cause yet another re-think for top-level sport.

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Fans returned to a competitive league match for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic on Saturday with Carlisle's clash against Southend the first match to welcome supporters. West Ham chief Karren Brady slammed the top-flight's decision to delay the return of fans and claimed that a

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Travel to and from games as well as supporters mixing pre and post-match are additional issues football must consider but as with the wider economy, the game's financial worries are at the heart of the push to bring fans back.

a man with a football ball in front of a crowd: Clubs are desperate for fans to return as they are losing millions in revenue each month © Provided by Daily Mail Clubs are desperate for fans to return as they are losing millions in revenue each month

'My plea for the return of sizeable crowds is by no means all about the loss of revenue although the sums are eye-wateringly large,' Brady admitted, explaining that clubs are losing around £80m in match-day revenue every month.

Brady's words echo the sentiments of Brighton CEO Paul Barber, who is convinced Premier League clubs are capable of welcoming fans back safely.

'The message is we want to see fans back in our stadiums as soon as possible,' he told beIN Sports.

Paul Barber wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera: The Brighton CEO (above) believes supporters should return soon to help keep football afloat © Provided by Daily Mail The Brighton CEO (above) believes supporters should return soon to help keep football afloat

'We believe we can create a safe environment that's arguably safer than watching in their own living rooms and bars and pubs up and down the country.

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'It's not only important to clubs at the Premier League level, but it's vitally important to clubs all the way through the football pyramid, arguably more so further down the pyramid.

'We do need to get fans back in the stadium, we do need that to happen sooner rather than later, but we're very aware that we need to keep people safe when doing that.

'We believe that, with the measures we've put in place, we can keep people safe and I think that's important.

It will still be a long time since we see scenes like those above in the Premier League © Provided by Daily Mail It will still be a long time since we see scenes like those above in the Premier League

'It's an outdoor environment, we've got plenty of space to distance people, our stewards are trained to work with new guidelines to keep people safe and we think it's not only important for the football economy, but for the wider economy up and down the country to get live sport back in action again.'

The Bundesliga paved the way for the rest of the world with its restart and German clubs are already filling 20 per cent of their stadiums.

While the UK Government's more cautious approach is unlikely to see that implemented, the Premier League has hopes to welcome more fans back in October.

For now, though, fans remain in limbo.

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