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PRIME Minister Boris Johnson says his government is working to get crowds back into venues “as soon as possible.”
Reports emerged on Tuesday evening that the government was exploring the possibility of spectators being allowed into venues by Christmas in areas with the lowest coronavirus infection rates.
The PM is reported to have told MPs privately that reopening sports grounds was “a personal priority.”
Johnson did not give any specifics on the issue however when the matter was raised during Prime Minister’s Questions today.
“I understand the frustration over fans and we hope to get crowds back in the ground as soon as possible,” he said in answer to a question from Karl McCartney, the Conservative MP for Lincoln.
Former FA chairman David Bernstein, who was at a meeting of football leaders that also involved Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden on Tuesday, told BBC Radio Four’s Today programme: “There is an obvious desire and a need to get fans back into stadia, but in reality this will depend on the progress with Covid.
“We have to be realistic and I suspect, if it happens, it will be a fairly small number of fans in areas that have a lower problem with the rate of Covid.
“I wouldn’t be overly optimistic but clearly everybody wants this is as soon as possible.”
McCartney also asked Johnson about an English Football League (EFL) rescue package.
He said: “We don’t want any football team to go out of business as a result of this pandemic and we’re doing everything we can.”
The government has repeatedly said it expects the Premier League to provide financial assistance to the EFL.
The top flight has made offers of support and clubs in Leagues One and Two are now in negotiations over a £50 million rescue package from the Premier League understood to be made up of £20m in grants and £30m in loans.
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