Allow the return of spectators to football at all levels below national league

This petition has been started with the intention of securing the safe return of non league/grassroots football to secure the future of football at a local level.

13,270 Signatures

Status: Open
Opened: 17 Aug 2020, 11:15 a.m.
Last 24 hours signatures : 3
Estimated Final Signatures: 16,828

Daily Rank: #968 • Weekly Rank: #1759 • Total Rank: #128

Non league football holds a special place in the community for young and old, the Government's unclear guidance has led to some clubs withdrawing from their leagues and a few folding all together, all because the Government hasn’t made a clear enough decision regarding the start date of fans attending games.
I request that all football below the national league north/south be allowed to return along side current government guidelines in terms of socially distancing and sanitation.

Top 50 Constituencies by Number of Signatures

2,967 signatures - 22.0% of total

Responsive image

Government Response

On 18 Aug, the Government amended its guidance to provide extra clarification for organisers of non-elite sports events to help them manage and admit spectators safely, adhering to social distancing.

Football clubs, at all levels, form the bedrock of our local communities. There have been countless examples during the pandemic of football clubs across the country demonstrating their importance to their local area, volunteering both time and money during these difficult times.

The Government has worked to get sports back up and running over the past few months. We were able to get elite sports - including the Premier League - back behind closed doors in June, allowing seasons to be finished and vital revenues to flow into the game. We have been clear with the football authorities that we expect these revenues to be used to help the whole game, rather than just the top tiers to whom they flow directly. To this end the Premier League announcement to advance funds of £125 million to clubs in the EFL and National League is welcomed. The government continues to liaise with the football authorities to understand their work to help the wider football family.

The guidance under which elite sport was able to resume (Elite sport guidance stages 1-5) does not apply to individuals or teams who do not meet the definition of elite sportspeople contained within the guidance. Non-elite football is covered by the Return to recreational team sport framework, and the supplementary guidance provided by The FA within that overall government framework. We have updated the section on spectators to provide more guidance to clubs on the steps they need to take to safely manage any crowds. The FA has also updated its guidance to reflect this.

It is up to the respective governing bodies to determine what constitutes the boundary between elite and non-elite within their sports. The FA’s definition means that leagues below the National Leagues North and South can continue with spectators.

We continue to work closely with all sports, including the interests of football from National League and above to support the safe return of spectators to stadia more widely from October 1st. As announced by the Prime Minister, this remains subject to successful pilots events and wider prevailing public health factors, both of which remain under active consideration.

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport