Ian Wright and Roy Keane have expressed frustration to the government for not allowing football fans to return to the pitch and predict that the lower league clubs will go bankrupt with no income for the day.
England have played their first home game since the coronavirus break outside an empty Wembley stadium against Wales, with the majority of the country’s football teams still not allowed to accept fans due to the pandemic global.
And ITV specialist Wright couldn’t believe how members of the public can visit the Royal Albert Hall or even watch a football match in a closed cinema without attending a match in an open-air stadium.
Roy Keane (left) and Ian Wright (right) can’t believe why fans can’t go to football games
England beat Wales 3-0 outside an empty 90,000-seat Wembley stadium on Thursday
It was recently announced that 4,700 spectators can attend London’s O2 Arena for a concert in December and that 57% crowd capacity will be allowed at the Royal Albert Hall for events around Christmas.
The former Arsenal and England striker told ITV on Thursday: “Yeah, I’m very frustrated when you see the size of Wembley and how they can distance themselves.
“People will be worried about the halls, but when you look at the steps they take (to put us in the ground) – and you have to – I can’t understand how people can’t be here.
“When you watch Albert Hall and the theaters and see how they close the curtains (in theaters when people watch games there) – why can’t we get the fans back now? Look at the lower league teams, they are suffering.
His compatriot ITV Keane predicted that small professional clubs would suffer from continued games behind closed doors and even believed 10,000 supporters could have attended the England game on Thursday night.
Keane believes 10,000 fans could have attended England’s game at Wembley on Thursday
Fans are currently allowed to watch matches in a cinema (left) but not in a stadium (right)
The Irishman added: “The clubs are going to go bankrupt, if you look at the situation tonight – you can’t tell me there can’t be 10,000 people tonight.
“It’s frustrating and weird right now.
The government had planned to welcome supporters back to sporting events in early October due to the success of several test events in August and September.
However, a spike in cases leading to new foreclosure regulations such as the ‘rule of six’ and the 10pm ad shutdown meant plans for fans to return to stadiums had to be delayed.
The Premier League and EFL have urged the government to reconsider keeping fans aloof
In recent days, a petition urging the government to reconsider returning football fans to indoor stadiums has passed the 100,000 signatory mark required for a parliamentary debate.
The motion to “Allow football fans to attend matches at all levels” has received support from the EFL and a large number of clubs on social media.
An open letter from the Premier League urged the government for more consistency with crowds being kept away from elite-level football.
The last Premier League game to accept fans on the pitch was Leicester City’s victory over Aston Villa on March 9.