‘We feel rather disappointed’: Aston Villa chief Christian Purslow blasts the government for capping crowds at test events to 1,000 following rise in Covid-19 infections
- Government indicated fans may be able to return to stadiums from October
- But that is now under review following a recent rise in Covid-19 infections
- The Premier League faces losing £100m a month while fans are shut out
Aston Villa chief Christian Purslow has blasted the government’s decision to cap crowds at 1,000 for potential test events in September.
In July the government indicated fans may be able to return to stadiums from October but that is now under review after a rise in infections.
That has left England’s major sports contemplating a £1billion black hole if crowds cannot come back.
Christian Purslow has blasted decision to cap crowds at 1,000 for test events in September
Purslow has warned the Premier League faces losing £100m a month while fans are shut out
Villa chief executive Purslow said: ‘We feel rather disappointed. The only thing you will learn from having 1,000 fans at a test event is that football clubs lose huge amounts of money when their stadiums are empty and that has a profound impact on the economy of football.’
Purslow, who has warned the Premier League faces losing £100m a month while fans are shut out, pointed to a successful test event at Brighton in which 2,500 fans were allowed in to watch a pre-season friendly against Chelsea. Arsenal’s Premier League home match against Sheffield United had been earmarked as potential reduced-capacity test event.
Purslow also revealed Villa Park’s 42,000 capacity would be reduced to just 4,000 under the current rules.
A test event at Brighton allowed 2,500 fans to watch a pre-season friendly against Chelsea
He told the BBC: ‘The government have been in possession for over two months of a wide-ranging proposal for a set of test events that should have taken place in September, including what we thought of as a pioneering event in central London to try and move away from this social distancing limitation as the basis of which to determine how many fans can come in.
‘In our stadium if we applied the one metre plus metric only about 4,000 fans could come in to 42,000-seater Villa Park and anyone can see that’s not viable.
‘We are advocating a testing largely in line with rugby where a huge amount of accurate pre-testing is done of a known audience of fans before and after matches.
‘That not only provides a safe environment but helps the government with a very large sample size. We were proposing 50 per cent in a large London stadium which would have been the biggest sample ever taken.’
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