Let Fans In Campaign: The FA and the UK Government have to do more for our clubs, clubs that are at the heart of every community in this country of ours, our beloved clubs that are now fighting for survival
DORKING WANDERERS chairman Marc White is leading a campaign to get fans back in to watch their beloved non-league football clubs.
Supporters have been banned by The Football Association to attend pre-season friendlies at all levels of the game – thus denying clubs vital revenue streams as every club is struggling financially, having not made any turnstile income since the outbreak of the coronavirus in March.
It is especially hard to stomach that the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson effectively put the entire country in lockdown on 24 March but is controversially picking and choosing which industries come back to feed the UK economy.
It is critically unfair that non-league football clubs have been banned for letting in their fans to watch football matches – yet you can sit on the beach without any social distancing, drink in a pub with your mates and you can watch a film inside in a cinema.
A club statement from the National League South side said: “It beggars belief that The FA could not explain to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, the significant differences in football at different step levels, aside from generating income through fines.
“The Football Association prove time and time again they have no real interest in Non-League Football – #letfansin.
“Pubs and restaurants are active, non-essential shops are open for business, parks and beaches robust – but small football grounds are essential to the community but are not allowed people to watch? Yet anyone can now play contact football.
“The FA’s chief executive needs to sort this mess out!
“The hardships for clubs are only just beginning, reality will hit home soon.
“ALL clubs need to start banging the drum, key pre-season revenue is already going down the pan, additional costs required due to COVID protocols, FA Cup prize money halved.
“The County Associations are doing their level best. Reducing fee’s where they can, trying to genuinely help grassroots football, they should be applauded but Non-League is let down by The FA.
“There is absolutely no chance we would adhere to the ‘guidance’ if we were still Step Five and Below and played at (our former ground) at Westhumble. Pre-season matches are not played under FA competition rules.
“There’s a reason Non-League is getting forgotten and no one is ‘making things happen. – it’s because if you are quiet if you accept, you are not the priority, clubs need to speak out and big against these ridiculous contradictions. The FA should be getting inundated with complaints.”
Non-League football is the heartbeat of our national game and it must not be destroyed by people who do not have its best interests at heart.
The way that The Football Association has treated our clubs – by declaring the 2019-20 campaign null and void – is a national disgrace!
With most clubs having an average of 10 league games left to play, the season could so easily have been paused and re-started again this month to ensure a fair system of sorting out promotions and relegations – just like they have done in the Premier League and Championship and the three divisions of the National League where play-offs were contested behind closed doors to see who were promoted along with the side sitting at the top of each division.
The Football Association must now prove that they show the same love to the Non-League game that they do for the cash-rich Premier League.
The FA and the UK Government have to do more for our clubs, clubs that are at the heart of every community in this country of ours, our beloved clubs that are now fighting for survival.