Manchester United have criticised the stance taken by the government over the continued absence of fans from stadia and say they are in a position to safely reopen Old Trafford to supporters.
No fans have been allowed inside Premier League grounds since March at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and despite other venues – such as cinemas and restaurants – reopening, stadiums have remained closed.
That has left a gaping hole in the finances of many clubs while there has been a degree of anger at the perceived double standards in opening some venues but not others.
Premier League clubs have been working hard to create plans to allow stadiums to reopen – including staggered arrival times and quick-result coronavirus tests at the gates.
Despite Tuesday seeing the most new deaths since May, United are still pushing for fans to return with the club’s Chief Operating Officer, Collette Roche, urging the government to reconsider their position.
‘We were really disappointed when the government decided not to allow fans back in the stadium in October because we’ve got everything in place to make sure we can do so safely,’ Roche told Sky Sports News.
‘We spent around two months working with the government guidelines to develop the right processes and measures to make sure that we can have around 23,500 people in this stadium safely social distancing.
‘It’s quite bemusing to understand why people can gather in other settings such as on an aeroplane or a restaurant, or even in a cinema to watch football, when we know we’ve got the plans and the process is ready to deliver a match day here safely.’
She added: ‘The government gave us guidelines and it’s those guidelines that we have followed. I’m convinced that would be able to do so safely.’