Yorkshire news Blades fans handed boost over Bramall Lane return for next season MetiNews.Com
MetiNews.Com - EFL chief executive Trevor Birch says it is imperative that stadiums are full next season so that clubs can try to recover from the financial losses of the past 12 months
Breaking News ! Sheffield United fans' hopes of returning to Bramall Lane in full capacity at the start of next season have been boosted by EFL chief executive Trevor Birch. It is looking in all probability that United will kick-off the 2021-22 campaign in the Championship. The Blades are currently 15 points from safety with only eight matches remaining and need a sporting miracle to survive. Supporters have been locked out for over a year and playing behind closed doors has certainly impacted the club more than any in the Premier League. The return to full capacity crowds cannot come soon enough. And Birch says he is 'cautiously optimistic' that that can be achieved in time for next season's kick-off. This month's Carabao Cup final between Manchester City and Tottenham will see 8,000 spectators in attendance. The FA Cup semi-final between Leicester and Southampton on April 18 will also be played in front of 4,000 supporters. Should the pilot scheme, which could also see an increased attendance for the FA Cup final on May 15, prove successful and the path out of lockdown continues to follow the current roadmap, then the lifting of all social-distancing measures is set for June 21. Birch feels there is genuine hope for a return to some sense of normality for the next campaign.
. "Hopefully, as a result of all these test events that will assist and hopefully lead the Government to allow us to do so.
Fans have been locked out of Bramall Lane since March last year
(Image: OLI SCARFF/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
"I am positive, our aspiration has to be that [full grounds]. "We are not blind to the issues surrounding the difficulties in achieving that, but hopefully with the introduction of Covid certification, which seems to be the direction of travel, that may well assist us in getting to that level." With revenue loss for EFL clubs standing at around £250m, Birch knows the importance of next season starting with grounds at full capacity. "It's been offset by a few mitigating factors that have enabled clubs to survive - the Championship loans, Premier League bail-out of Leagues One and Two," said Birch.
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"We have had some wage deferrals and cuts, the HMRC enforcement standstill, iFollow has helped as well, so there were some mitigating aspects - but another season behind closed doors would have been unpalatable for most of the clubs. "We are trying to create certainty out of a very uncertain situation to enable the clubs to plan and give them confidence in planning for next season. "By looking forward positively, we do have the June 21 date where it is 'all systems go', albeit with some caveats around that, but we have to plan accordingly. "The clubs all want to know what to do in terms of season tickets, whether we have to offer iFollow or are confident of getting the fans back early doors."
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Source = MetiNews.Com