The fight to get fans back watching Non-League continues as the risk of more clubs folding increases. Leading the troops into battle, Dorking Wanderers and Concord Rangers, were just two clubs that started the twitter campaign #LetFansIn.
Oliver Dowden, the minister for Culture, Media and Sport, announced a set of changes last night – none of which mentioned non-league. The changes to the guidance meant Casinos, Bowling Alleys and Ice Rinks were given the green light to re-opening whilst concert venues and theaters could host performances as long as they follow social distance guidance. This for the Government is continuing to boost the economy.
Also mentioned in the guidance was that the pilots, allowing fans to attend sports including the snooker and cricket, to test having live crowds was given the go-ahead again after it was postponed at the end of July.
Should the pilots be successful, there is a chance non-league crowds could be allowed into grounds by October. But what happens before then?
The ‘Behind Closed Door’ guidance has already put a strain on clubs as they try to battle through, hoping to reach the promise-land of having crowds soon. What also makes the BCD policy hard is that from September 1st, the FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round will return. The FA Cup for many clubs is a lifeline. Not only for the prize money but also for the gate and bar money. The competition offers fans the chance to watch an FA Cup game, following their local teams.
Without fans, many more clubs will fold. The Government and the FA will need to act now before it is too late. Non-league is the foundation that holds the English Football Pyramid in place. Without it, who-knows what will happen?