Brighton chief executive Paul Barber wants to see a “roadmap” for Premier League clubs to get back towards full stadiums.
The AmEx are set to be allowed 4,000 fans for home games under plans to get supporters back into stadiums as Brighton is likely to be placed in Tier One.
That will be a huge boost for Brighton and very welcome with fans also set to be told under the new guidelines and protocols they can chant, cheer on their team and potentially also enjoy a drink at games but will have to sign up to a medical questionnaire and Code of Conduct.
But Brighton are not alone in hoping the Government will quickly supply the Premier League and the rest of football longer term plans over the next few months how they can begin to upscale and get more fans in.
Barber said: “This is an important first step but we’d like to see how we can scale it up, we’d like to see a roadmap of how we can take it from here. I think it’s really important for us to be able to see that.
“We’ve got this earlier than perhaps we expected, we might get a higher number of supporters back earlier than we expected. I wouldn’t want to put a limit on when we can get everyone back or a time limit which is too far out.
“I think we’ve got to keep everyone’s safety in mind, support the Government in what they are trying to do outside of football but they also know how important to is for football to stand on their own two feet.
“Our aim is to get to a place where we can scale up the number of fans coming back to the stadium safely as quickly as we can. And, if we can do that, that returns football to a much more viable position that we have been in for some time now.”
Brighton have played an important role in the plans for a return for fans as they staged a test event for 2,000 supporters for a pre-season friendly with Chelsea in August.
They supplied a document and a survey to the Premier League after that game and Barber believes the Code of Conduct which is being discussed by clubs as to what fans can and cannot do must include a near normal match day experience.
The notion that fans cannot sing or support their team is a non-starter for many clubs, but they do want to serve alcohol which might be seen as a no-no and yet Barber believes the fans can be trusted as they and the clubs are desperate for their return.
Barber, whose club will stage a ballot for fans to get a ticket, said: “I think what we said to people is take primary responsibility for their own safety, then the people around you and then our staff.
“Don’t put us in the position where your behaviour puts at risk, you, fellow fans or our staff. People said: ‘That’s fair.’ We didn’t have a single issue from 2,500 fans, they all behaved superbly.
“They did sing, did shout at the referee, we scored a last minute equaliser against Chelsea which they liked and they celebrated that.
“We will be running at a loss but we ant to do this because a) because we feel it’s the right thing to do and secondly we owe it to the fans, we absolutely owe it to the fans to bring them back at the earliest opportunity when it’s safe and they feel safe when they’re here.”
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