The Premier League and the leaders of governing bodies across English soccer have pleaded with the UK government to speed up plans for fans to return to stadiums amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Premier League chief executive Richard Masters was joined by David Baldwin (EFL chief executive), Mark Bullingham (FA chief executive) and Kelly Simmons (FA director of women’s professional game) as they penned an open letter with regards to fans returning to stadiums for the first time since March.
The statement urged the UK government to allow fans back in stadiums soon, as 11 test events were successful in August and September but more test events were canceled due to a huge spike in COVID-19 cases in September and October.
Fans were due to be able to return in small numbers from October 1 but that was canceled.
In these troubled times, scraps of normality glint like a jewel in the dirt. Three cheers, then, for a weekendwhen the football discourse was dominated not by the imminent collapse of the league pyramid or the unsuccessful containment of a global pandemic but, sweet bliss, by people becoming furious about refereeing.
Like wandering aimlessly through a crowd, or paying for something with coins, the heated response to this season’s new interpretation of the handball rule has the feel of a charming throwback. To hear Roy Hodgson fuming against the law – “I don’t want to profit from it or lose from it” – or to see Steve Bruce decry it as “a nonsense, a nonsense of a rule” felt like slumping back into a battered pub sofa, only without having to look over your shoulder to check how many people were sitting at the next table. Being incensed about something