We are pleased to report that HUST life member and MP for Hartlepool Mike Hill supports the safe return of football supporters to stadiums and following discussions with HUST and Hartlepool United has written to Nigel Huddleston, Minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage to request that fans be allowed back to grounds.
Mike said: “I fully support HUST in this campaign and I would like to see fans back where they belong at the heart of football.
In Hartlepool we don’t often have the luxury of being able to watch our team on television like the big Premier League clubs and so we risk being frozen out of football. We don’t have their money but that does not mean that we don’t matter. I’m immensely proud of all of the fans who have been working so hard to make the Government understand this issue and I will do all I can to help.
I fully intend to speak in the debate on the 9th of November to ensure that the Government hears what Hartlepool has to say.”
Mark Goodman, HUST Community officer added:
“We all share the frustrations of supporters across the land when we see the inconsistency of indoor venues and football stadia in European leagues with crowds in attendance while here we are currently banned from doing so. We recognise that at this stage that allowing capacity crowds would not be feasible, but we strongly believe that allowing reduced capacity crowds combined with the safety measures developed by Hartlepool United this would allow at least some supporters back to the Vic to support the team.”
The Football Supporters’ Association, the national representative body for football supporters in England and Wales, continue to lobby the government to allow fans back into games. This lobbying has been supported by many Supporters’ Trusts, including HUST, and other supporter groups across the country. An open letter to football fans co-signed by The Premier League, EFL, FA, Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship reaffirming their support for their commitment to have fans back to watch live football was welcomed by them.
Kevin Miles, chief executive at the FSA, said of a return of fans: “We are completely behind football’s efforts to get fans back in grounds, in a safe and controlled manner, and we welcome this letter. We will continue to work with the authorities to help that become a reality.
“Football clubs across the country have been preparing for a safe return of supporters, and the longer stadiums remain closed the bigger the threat to the very existence of many clubs.”
Demonstrating the strength of feeling amongst fans almost 200,000 signatures were received for an official petition launched by football fan Ashley Greenwood which was backed by the EPL, EFL and the FSA. As noted by Mike this is now scheduled for debate on the 9th of November and will be attended by a representative of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. You can watch the debate on the UK Parliament YouTube Channel here.
Thank you to Mike for his continued support.