Hundreds in Northumberland press for reopening of football stadiums

Nearly 1,000 people in Northumberland have signed a petition calling for the Government to let football fans back into stadiums despite the coronavirus crisis.

By Katie Williams,
Monday, 19th October 2020, 1:26 pm
Updated Monday, 19th October 2020, 1:30 pm
Newcastle United's St James's Park
Newcastle United's St James's Park

Nationally, almost 200,000 fans have backed the idea – forcing a Parliamentary debate to take place on the issue in the coming weeks.

As of 10am on Friday, 928 people in the area had signed the petition – among more than 8,500 from across the North East.

In the Berwick-upon-Tweed constituency, 105 had signed, along with 267 in Blyth Valley, 177 in Wansbeck, 134 in Hexham and 245 in Blaydon.

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The petition on Parliament’s website has gathered 197,000 signatures already, and that means MPs in Westminster will have to debate the matter – with the date set on November 9.

Petition creator Ashley Greenwood said football is a "powerful tool" that brings a range of economic and social benefits.

He added: "Football can be associated with passion, emotion, excitement and dedication across the community.

"I ask for the support of this petition as I fear that smaller clubs in particular will go out of business leading to a devastating effect on people."

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden admited he wanted to see fans return to stadiums earlier this month but added: “But there is very clear evidence from the scientific community that, at this stage of the disease, with rapidly rising infections, we should be imposing restrictions – not further easements.”

He added: “We are doing things that are positively hateful, but the reason we are doing it is to secure public safety.”