Leeds United Supporters’ Trust: We need a common sense approach to getting fans back into Elland Road safely

After the thrill of last weekend’s game against Manchester City, and last minute signings, the Board of the Leeds United Supporters’ Trust are pressing for the safe return to Elland Road of the most important people - the supporters.

By The Board of the Leeds United Supporters’ Trust
Saturday, 10th October 2020, 11:45 am
Supporters are still locked out of Elland Road after the government delayed plans for a phased return of fans back into stadiums.
Supporters are still locked out of Elland Road after the government delayed plans for a phased return of fans back into stadiums.

Leeds United went into the first international break having secured seven points from our first four Premier League games, the latest being a hard-fought draw against Manchester City.

That was a great result against a team managed by Pep Guardiola, who recently said of Marcelo Bielsa that he was “the person I admire the most in world football”.

As Leeds United fans, we know how he feels! We’re currently sitting in the top half of the Premier League and bringing admiration across theworld for our style of play.

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The squad has been significantly strengthened, with another signing on deadline day in the Brazilian winger Raphinha.

The club have invested heavily in the transfer window all summer, but the Trust recognises the financial reality that this kind of spending is simply not sustainable in the long-term without fans returning to Elland Road.

The return of fans has been set back by recent government guidelines that have further delayed even a phased return. The Trust also note that those same guidelines now allow socially-distanced large scale indoor concerts and cinema screenings.

This makes it all the more confusing as to why there is still a complete ban on attending most levels of competitive football across the country.The Trust believe that what is now required is a more common-sense approach and our position is simple – every effort should be made for fans to return to the stands at a capacity that is safe, for both the enjoyment of fans and the sake of every club’s wider communities.

As we mentioned in the Trust’s article in last week’s Yorkshire Evening Post, we fully support the national campaign by the Football Supporters’ Association (FSA) for the return of fans.

The FSA have already pointed out to the government that there were high levels of health and safety compliance at recent test events.

The FSA also rightly said that “having fans at games is of course not only important to the lives of supporters, it is also crucial to the survival of so many clubs who play a crucial role within their communities”.

In the last few days, the FSA and the Trust have welcomed a joint open letter to supporters from all the major English footballing authorities, which reaffirms the commitment of all leagues to #letfansin to stadiums “in highly regulated and stewarded outdoor environments”.

Our primary concern at the Trust is obviously Leeds United fans, and we will work closely with the club to ensure they are as well prepared as possible from a safety perspective for some form of phased return.

But we also recognise that football brings joy to millions and we stand alongside fans of all clubs in their cautious efforts to return to stadiums.

Adding your own voice to the Trust’s work is easy. Simply visit our website at www.leedsunitedtrust.com and become a member for just £10 per year.

As a member, you can also enrol your child for free as a Future Trust member!

Marching on together.