Football fans should 'use their own judgement' on masks - minister

A Government minister has said football fans in the region should “use their own judgement” on wearing masks at matches when the new season starts.

Shrewsbury Town fans. Photo: AMA
Shrewsbury Town fans. Photo: AMA

Shrewsbury Town, AFC Telford United, along with Wolves, Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion and Walsall, are all due to kick off their 2021-22 league campaigns next month, with clubs expected to be allowed to determine their own guidance on Covid rules inside stadiums.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick, a former Wolves season ticket holder, said wearing a mask should be a “matter of personal responsibility”.

He said stadiums were “one of the safer environments to be gathering in large numbers” and urged clubs to “trust the public” when it comes to wearing a face covering.

The vast majority of Covid restrictions have now been removed, although some businesses including supermarkets and bus companies are still asking customers to wear masks amid rising coronavirus cases.

Asked if supporters would be expected to wear masks inside stadiums, Mr Jenrick said: “It won’t be a matter of law.

“We’re moving into a new phase now where we are learning to live with the virus and it will be a matter of personal responsibility and judgement whether you as a fan want to wear a mask in the stadium. Businesses and organisations like football clubs will be able to come to their own judgements and to ask their own fans to wear one if they think that’s important.

“But they will also have to balance out the fact that it’s outdoors, very well ventilated and so one of the safer environments to be gathering in large numbers.

“Our message as a government is that we should all be cautious, because it is clear that the number of cases is high and is going to rise, but that these things should be a matter of personal responsibility and we trust the public to come to a sensible, pragmatic conclusion.”

Clubs are expected to be able to include the wearing of face coverings as a condition of entry for the new season.

Some clubs, including Shrewsbury Town, will be making small areas of grounds available as socially-distanced ticketing, to cater for fans who may feel nervous about returning to full capacity venues.

Shrewsbury Town open their campaign in Skybet League One at home to Burton Albion on Saturday, August 7.

AFC Telford’s return to Vanarama National League North action is away at Darlington on Saturday, August 14.

Their first home clash will come when they host Chorley on Saturday, August 21.

In the Premier League Villa’s first home game is against Newcastle on August 21 and Wolves entertain Tottenham the following day. Albion’s first home game of their Championship campaign is against Luton on August 14, and in League Two Walsall take on Forest Green at Banks’s Stadium on the same day.

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News