On Monday November 9th, the petition calling for the return of fans to professional football will be debated by MPs.
Like every EFL club up and down the country we have been working carefully and diligently to ensure the return of fans can be achieved as safely as possible.
We will have in place many precautions, including social distancing, sitting in social bubbles, adhering to NHS track & trace requirements, the wearing of face masks, temperature checks, hand washing and hand sanitising stations, one-way traffic flows and staggered arrival and departure times, and we believe we are well set to welcome supporters back to the PTS Academy Stadium as soon as Government allows.
Indeed, we were part of a pilot test event at Shrewsbury Town in September, an event that proved very successful and should have provided the platform for the return of supporters to be rolled out across all 72 clubs.
We have real concerns about the inconsistencies that were clearly evident prior to this lockdown and feel that football was getting a very rough deal compared to other sectors. Having spoken with the Sports Ground Safety Authority on this subject, the organisation who regulate sports stadiums, they are firmly of the opinion that clubs can operate safely with spectators attending.
What is important now is that, from Monday's debate, clubs receive a clear, definitive road map for sports stadiums to be allowed to open back up as part of the easing of restrictions when we come out of this latest lockdown.
Continuing to play matches behind closed doors is putting a huge financial strain on football clubs, who are pillars of local communities, and the absence of supporters is not something that should be extended a day longer than is absolutely necessary, not just for the sake of the clubs and the mental well being of supporters, but for the support it provides local businesses and the community too.
We are in regular contact with Northampton MPs Andrew Lewer and Michael Ellis on this subject and they are aware of our position ahead of the debate.
We hope the way back for supporters will be a lot clearer after Monday's debate in Parliament.
We encourage all fans to share their views on social media using #LetFansin and we hope to be welcoming supporters back to the PTS Academy Stadium soon.