Practicalities of the Government Announcement
The government confirmed today that football fans will now begin to be allowed back to stadiums in limited amounts from December 2nd, several months ahead of their earlier projection of March next year.
In terms of how that works for Aston Villa will depend on the tier level Birmingham is granted this coming Thursday, current estimates based on previous high tiers for the area, suggest that Villa Park may miss out hosting fans in December.
Elite sport clubs and events hosted outdoors in tier one locations will be able to welcome up to a maximum of 4,000 fans or 50 per cent of stadium capacity – whatever is lower. While it’s very unlikely the Birmingham area would drop to be classed as a tier one location, that would mean less than 10% of Villa Park capacity would be used for games.
In tier two (high alert) locations the cap is set at 2,000 supporters or 50 percent of stadium capacity. If Villa Park has a chance of hosting games, it would be under such circumstances. Villa CEO Christian Purslow has already voiced his frustration at the idea of opening stadiums to such a low percentage of the capacity, regarding it as a clear loss leader.
According to the government’s new protocol, in tier three locations, fans will not be permitted to attend elite sporting fixtures in line with hospitality venues and other large event venues being closed. Elite sport in tier three locations will still continue behind closed doors.
Details from Club Incoming
My Old Man Said will be attending a Villa Fan Consultation Group meeting (virtually), where the club will discuss their approach to the introduction of supporters, tier grading permitting. Stay tuned for more news soon on that meeting.
In other news, plans are afoot to make Villa Park one of five major vaccination centres in the Birmingham area.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden quotes on today’s news:
“This is a big step forward for sport. Bringing grassroots sport back was my number one priority so I’m pleased we are reopening sports and gyms in every tier, in recognition of the significant health benefits.
I’m also delighted we are able to get the turnstiles turning sooner than expected, taking a cautious approach and starting with the lowest risk areas first. I’m confident that sports will take every step to ensure their fans are safe, and fans will play their part and look out for each other until we can safely get everyone back in..”