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Posh owner criticises pause in plan to open stadiums

Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony tweeted that "it's time the government get their cheque book out" as it was announced that plans to allow the phased return of spectators into sporting venues have been put on hold.
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Darragh MacAnthony has criticised the announcement that the government is 'pausing' the programme that would see fans return to football grounds (Photo: archive.terry-harris.co.uk)

A number of pilot test events took place over the past few months with the aim to begin an official phased return on October 1. Peterborough United were denied the opportunity to invite 1,000 spectators to the first home game of the season at the weekend due to the local infection rate within the city.

Michael Gove, Cabinet Office minister, appeared on BBC Breakfast and said of the scheme: "We're looking at how we can, for the moment, pause that programme. But what we do want to do is to make sure is that as and when circumstances allow get more people back.

"The virus is less likely to spread outdoors than indoors but it is in the nature of major sporting events that there is a lot of mingling. People look back now at the beginning of the pandemic and look at some of the major sporting events then and ask the question why were they allowed to go ahead?

"One of the things we must do now, whatever the wisdom of the decisions made then, is to look at sports events now with caution.

"We also recognise that sport's a vital part of the life of the nation and we're looking at everything we can do to support our athletes and our great clubs through what will be a challenging time."

Darragh MacAnthony has been vocal in his want to get fans back to the Weston Homes Stadium, saying last week that he and his team were "trying everything in their power to get fans back."

In response to the question of whether today's announcement would mean that clubs are going to need financial support to get through this further setback to revenue, he tweeted: "Yes pal, it's time the government get their cheque book out if they are to continue to lock our fans out. And quickly."