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Poll Results: Should fans be allowed back into sporting events?

On the same day that the Peterborough MP joined the discussion about reopening football stadiums, we asked what our readers thought about getting fans back to games. Is everyone on the same team?
Posh ground
There may be growing pressure on governments to open stadiums to fans... but what do Peterborough Matters readers think? (Photo: John Baker)
There was a clear winner in the poll - but not a majority answer.

Most respondents said that they don't think fans should be allowed back into stadiums, but were split on whether theatre and music events should also be allowed to be back. For just over 45% of people, it doesn't matter what type of event it is - public gatherings indoors shouldn't be okay.

Nearly 16% of people, however, said that stadiums were different from theatres and cinemas; they thought that sports events would spread Covid-19 worse than other activities.

On the other side, 21% of respondents said that they felt that allowing fans back into football matches and other sports events would be fine, as long as rules were followed.

14% of votes were cast in favour of opening up events regardless of the spread of the virus.

Only 3% of people said that they didn't know.

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Peterborough MP Paul Bristow wrote yesterday to Oliver Dowden, the Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Secretary, to ask if Posh could begin to invite supporters back into the stadium.

Mr Bristow wrote: "I have been contacted by the chief executive of Peterborough United, Bob Symns, and the chairman for Peterborough United Supporters Trust, Marco Graziano. 

"They have reassured me of their commitment to safety during this crisis and that the club has followed all the government and sports authority guidance. They have told me their London Road stadium is now Covid-secure and ready for the return of their fans. 

"London Road has a capacity of 15,000, and the club is seeking to allow 1,000 supporters in the stadium in a socially-distanced fashion. If cinemas, pubs and restaurants can open safely, I have every confidence Peterborough United can do so."

This was a sentiment shared by those on our social media, despite the swing of the vote in the other direction.

Andy Reinis said: "Yes. Why is it safe to watch a film at the cinema indoors socially distanced, and not watch sports in an open air setting while socially distanced? Completely bonkers."

Emma Strowger agreed, writing: "It's about time people were. Clubs, performers and backstage staff are getting no help from the government. Let us get back to some kind of normal before it’s all too late!"

In an evidence session of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee, Oliver Dowden addressed the confusion that was arising as events were given the go-ahead at the London Palladium while fans were still kept away from matches. He said: "I accept people’s frustration at the inconsistency there.

"We had sports on a path to return to normality, in fact sports were the first to get on the first stage in the return to normality, that is (elite) football behind closed doors. We were one of the first countries in the world to achieve it. At that time I was attacked by the arts for prioritising sports. The next stage was to have pilots to move to a point from October 1 where we would be able to have spectators in stadiums. That is what I desperately wanted to happen.

"Because of where we are with the disease and the rapidly-rising rate of infection it has not been possible to have that further easement. The very clear advice from the scientific community was that we should be imposing restrictions, which we are, not further easements."

He stated that the issue was the volume of events compared with what is going on in theatres and smaller venues, adding: "It is worth noting it is not just in the stadium – it’s the journey to the stadium both on issues such as public transport, (and) people are likely to want something to eat or drink on the way, there is lots of other social contact.

"That’s not to say those things can’t be mitigated, they can be. But we have to accept that in permitting that to go ahead from October 1 we would have been having an easing in restriction, an increase in social interaction, which could have aided the spread of the disease at the same time as we were imposing lots of further restrictions."





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