Frustrated Tottenham seeking Government clarity over blanket crowd figure for all sporting stadiums

Dan Kilpatrick and Simon Collings
·3-min read
<p>Tottenham will welcome back 2,000 fans for the north London derby against Arsenal</p> (Getty Images)

Tottenham will welcome back 2,000 fans for the north London derby against Arsenal

(Getty Images)

Tottenham have been left frustrated by the Government’s decision to restrict the number of fans returning to 4,000 or 2,000 supporters and are seeking clarity as to why a blanket figure is being applied to all sporting venues, regardless of their size.

As London has been placed in Tier 2 of the Government’s Covid-19 system, Spurs are able to host 2,000 fans and will do so for the first time this Sunday when they take on Arsenal in the north London derby.

The club, however, feel there is a lack of clarity as to why all grounds - regardless of size - are being limited to the same capacity when larger ones, like Spurs’ 62,850-seater venue, would be able to host far more without compromising the health and safety of spectators.

Newer grounds, such as Tottenham’s, also have the advantage of bigger concourses and technological advancements that make them even safer and able to host greater numbers than smaller and older venues.

Tottenham have done everything to ensure Sunday’s match will be a success and they, like other Premier League clubs, hope they can welcome back more than 2,000 fans in the near future.

Premier League clubs voted on Thursday to bring in extra requirements that go beyond Government guidance for fans - such as supporters being obliged to wear face masks when in their seats.

The extra measures demonstrate how seriously clubs are taking supporters’ safety and should put them in pole position to host pilot events for a greater number of fans next year, which they hope could have grounds 25 per cent full.

For Sunday, however, Tottenham will host 2,000 fans and the technology advancements at their ground mean they can operate a fully contactless digital ticketing operation, which reduces physical contact when fans enter the stadium. Crucially it also gives the club an understanding of who is inside the venue at all times, which is vital for security and track and trace purposes.

Prior to supporters receiving their ticket, 72 hours before kick-off, they must complete a heath questionnaire that will be emailed to them. Only once it has been filled out will a ticket be activated.

There is now also a timed entry for supporters, which will avoid congestion at turnstiles, while inside there is clear signage and walking routes to ensure social distancing is observed.

Cleaning measures have been stepped up too, with infection control fogging, electrostatic spraying and disinfecting taking place before, during and after matches.

Tottenham have even been working with London Overground for those fans using public transport, ensuring trains serving White Hart Lane will be formed of eight, rather than four, carriages.

Once inside the ground, Tottenham’s season-ticket holders will be in the South stand and premium members will be located in the West stand.

The South stand has a capacity of 17,500, meaning there is plenty of room for fans. Given the current climate, Tottenham wanted to restrict the flow of supporters and consequently fans are being restricted to set areas.

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