Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder says he is baffled by coronavirus rules that allow fans into stadiums for a pilot scheme at the same time as tough new restrictions are in place to limit social mixing.
Eight English Football League matches are set to be played in front of crowds of up to 1,000 this weekend, in the second, third and fourth tiers.
The government granted the EFL permission to use selected fixtures as pilot events to reintroduce spectators to venues on a socially distanced basis. But the games will take place just days after tighter rules were brought in to stem an upsurge in Covid-19 cases.
Wilder referred to the “rule of six” as he expressed his confusion. Social gatherings of more than six people are banned in England from this week.
“I just don’t know where we are with it all, I’ve got to say, I haven’t got a clue,” he said. “Am I allowed to see my nan (grandmother)? Am I allowed to see my mum? But then we can have 1,000 people in a ground but we can’t have 15,000 and then I can’t go and have a pint with my mates unless there’s only six of us. So I’ve got to say I’m like the majority of the people in this country — I have not got a clue what’s going off, haven’t got a clue.”
There are ongoing discussions between the government and sports bodies, including the Premier League, over allowing greater numbers of fans into stadiums from October. English football bosses have warned it is “critical” to get spectators back, with clubs facing acute financial hardship as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.