No backing down over asking Northamptonshire non-league fans to stay away from games

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"Until we are assured it can happen safely our recommendation is to consider whether you should attend at all." says Public Health boss

Public Health chiefs are not backing down in their bid to persuade fans NOT to attend non-league football games in Northamptonshire.

Director Lucy Wightman's plea to supporters not to attend those sporting events where fans are allowed has fallen on deaf ears with attendances unchanged.

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The recommendation to stay away affects a 16 county clubs playing in the Southern League and United Counties League and comes despite a deal hatched in August between the Government and the FA to allow some grass roots football to restart safely.

Mrs Wightman has so far stopped short of telling clubs to discourage fans from attending games but she admitted: "I have spoken to some of the football teams and there is a really challenging balance to strike.

"We know that restrictions have impact on people's mental well being and on the economy.

"Lot of these clubs rely on income from spectators to enable their clubs to continue and we are working with a number of them to understand how we can make attendance as safe as possible.

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"In the interim and until we are assured that can happen and it can happen safely our recommendation is still to consider whether you should attend at all.

Fans of Northants local football clubs are being asked to stay away from matchesFans of Northants local football clubs are being asked to stay away from matches
Fans of Northants local football clubs are being asked to stay away from matches

"I think what I'm asking people is to just consider their actions and potential implications. We know more social distance you can create and fewer places you visit that pose a risk the less likely you are to catch the virus.

"Regularly reviewing insights from test and trace where we have conversations with people to understand behaviours, where they have been and attitude to different restrictions so we can understand where risk lies.

"Trying to make sure we can deal with this locally. If we can't we will certainly be reviewing that and consider if we should take action."

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NOW READ THIS: We're doing all we can to make our grounds safe, say non-league clubsClubs in the Football League and National League — Northampton Town, Kettering Town and Brackley Town — all received funding to keep going while not being able to sell tickets.

Director of Public Health, Lucy wightmanDirector of Public Health, Lucy wightman
Director of Public Health, Lucy wightman

Others below National League level are allowed to have fans in grounds up to 30 per cent of capacity but are required to have a raft of measures in place to maintain Covid-19 safety.

Junior football, community rugby and other sports are still prevented from playing during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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