The Chairman of Bridlington Town Football Club has been left devastated after a ruling left the club with less than 24 hours notice to cancel a planned match.
Pete Smurthwaite said: “We were informed at 2.30pm today (30thOctober) by the Director of Public Health at East Riding of Yorkshire Council that our game tomorrow at home against North Shields cannot be played with spectators in the stadium. I then spoke to the Northern Counties East League and also the Northern Premier League who confirmed to me most teams in Tier 2 and Tier 3 have been playing matches in front of the agreed maximum number of spectators, 300 at Level 5 and 600 at Level 4. We sent further information to the ERYC confirming the above but have still been informed we cannot allow spectators to attend tomorrow’s game.”
Despite all precautions in place and programmes being printed the club was left with no choice but to cancel the big match.
“We will of course reimburse all persons who have paid for a ticket and apologise for the decision and the lateness of it which was taken out of our hands. The latest statement we received from ERYC at 5.00pm today read as follows:-
“We will be in a high alert rating on Saturday because we now have high rates of community infection, for that reason spectators can only attend if they do not mix with people from outside their household or support bubble. If households are likely to mix spectators should not be allowed to attend”
Chairman Pete continued: “In view of the above and the previous emails we felt as a club reluctantly the game will have to be played behind closed doors, this despite the fact that 98% of other clubs at our level in this country can have spectators at their games. Without the income from spectators we cannot afford to play at this level of football so will the Council, the FA or the Government be willing to make up our loss with some grant aid funding, I doubt it.”
“We will continue to fight this decision because it has a major impact on the other clubs in this Council area. As a club we do have the required measures in place in accordance with the advice given to us by our league and the Government department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) which is the requirement to allow us to have 300 spectators in a stadium which has a 3000 capacity.”he added.