Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has called on the government to listen to football governing bodies and major stakeholders in deciding on fans returning to stadiums.
This weekend, Premier League clubs are being introduced to a pay-per-view system and Chelsea’s game against Southampton at Stamford Bridge today will be the first fixture to cost fans an additional £14.99 to watch at their homes.
The decision, however, has received widespread criticism from many supporters groups across the country, including Chelsea’s trust.
Lampard according to Football London now reacted that the decision to make fans pay more to watch games from the comfort of their homes is a complex one.
“I think it’s difficult. At the moment we are in this situation where fans can’t get into stadiums to watch the teams they love. That’s a fact. So the landscape has changed and it’s not simple. People might not be happy or people will be happy but people want to watch football.
“My main concern is how the Premier League, in talks with the government, can actually start to control the level of fans we can get back into stadiums. When you look in other parts of society we are seeing that people are, hopefully in the right conditions, being able to try as much as they can to have normal life.
“We need it in football, not just in the Premier League. it will support the whole football pyramid from the bottom to the top. And I think that needs to be the main concern. Not the short-term one of pay-per-view but more can we get fans back in stadiums.”
With further restrictions imposed in many parts of the country as the coronavirus cases continue to rise, Lampard added that it is important to strike a balance as supporters are also aware of indoor events taking place in some parts of the country.
“We are in this situation and it might sound contradictory to say it at this time when cities and areas are going into third-tier lockdown, and we know we have to be on alert and that our normal lives have changed completely from before Covid, but when you look at football as its own entity you see that we have stadiums that it seems could control [fans],” he said.
“The clubs are very adamant that they can control how we have fans back in at a certain level which will help the game completely, economically and as a spectacle.
“It is one of the best leagues in the world because of the fans that turn up every week. We have to try to find a way. Those conversations have to happen. And they have to happen honestly and we have to see if we can get the fans back in.”