Update on EFL return to match pilot

Cambridge United have cancelled a plan to have a second match in front of fans this weekend but the Government have confirmed pilot events can continue despite changes to restrictions on meeting people. It was announced last week that supporters would return to EFL fixtures next week, with two matches confirmed as test events in line with the Government’s pilot scheme. The first took place on Tuesday, 8 September, as Cambridge played EFL Trophy fixture against Fulham Under-21. But the second, due to take place tomorrow, has been called off.

Cambridge were chosen by the EFL to host the two test events, having previously been part of a joint project by the EFL and the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA) that looked at the safe application of social distancing at football grounds. That work was overseen by crowd dynamics experts Movement Strategies, who will also assess the pilot at the Abbey Stadium on behalf of the SGSA and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. But following a change in Government guidance, and after consultation with public health authorities, Cambridge will now face Carlisle United tomorrow, Saturday 12 September, behind closed doors.

Cambridge had planned for a crowd of 2,000 and had issued tickets accordingly. The Government announcement on Wednesday reduced the number to 1,000 and it was decided to cancel the pilot event in case too many people turned up for the reduced capacity. The full statement from Cambridge can be seen here while the initial statement from the EFL on the pilots can be seen here.

Brentford fans are reminded that our opening games of the season will be behind closed doors with no fans allowed. The pilot events were held with the aim for limited numbers of fans to be allowed to attend games from October. The Government announcement said this would be reviewed, as part of wider restrictions to tackle the spread of Covid-19, but pilot events with crowds of 1,000 could continue.

Decisions on how many Bees fans can access games will be made by the local Safety Advisory Group and a full update from the Club earlier this week can be read here. There will be a further announcement on the Club’s offer to 2020/21 Season Ticket Holders in the coming days. No tickets or places at matches are available to book yet but we ask our fans to be ready as this will be sent by email to Season Ticket Holders in the first instance.