Coronavirus: English football club calculates it can stage matches with under 200 people

The second-tier club who, by their own admission, have one of the smaller staffs in the division, have stripped the usual cast list back to those required to be there

One Chamionship club estimates it can stage a match using 200 staff, if and when football is allowed to resume in England. Reuters
One Chamionship club estimates it can stage a match using 200 staff, if and when football is allowed to resume in England. Reuters

A Championship club believe they can stage Football League games with under 200 people in their ground after drawing up detailed plans for who needs to attend matches behind closed doors.

The second-tier club who, by their own admission, have one of the smaller staffs in the division, have stripped the usual cast list back to those required to be there with a senior figure compiling a list of essential figures to stage a match.

Football faces a question of who is required for a game to go ahead when sport is allowed to resume, with a smaller number reducing the risk of infection with coronavirus

The Bundesliga has reportedly planned to have a maximum of 239 people in a stadium, but an English club think that, depending on the number of staff their opponents bring, it can be done with fewer. They are operating on the assumption games would be played at home grounds, but without fans.

Their breakdown includes 50 players, with the 18 in each matchday squad plus a few back-ups, and they are planning for around 30 people on the two backroom teams, including goalkeeping and fitness coaches, physios, kitmen and analysts.

They include a doctor per club, while wondering if one could deal with both, plus four paramedics and one ambulance driver.

They are planning for four match officials and a further six ground safety officers and staff, plus the club secretary for the home side and a coach driver for the away team – though a second would be needed if it were a longer journey.

They feel they would need four groundstaff, while noting that some clubs may have twice as many, and, on the basis of three per stand, reckon 12 ball-boys would be required.

Stewards for all entry and exit points amount to another 10 people, with cleaners, maintenance staff and an electrician bringing a further six.

In addition, one person would have to run the digital advertising hoardings and two to operate Hawkeye, which is used for goal-line technology.

They have allocated three catering staff for teams and officials and a further one for the media, plus a steward to let the press in.

Four one-man camera crews are needed to record the game, which is also for the iFollow streaming service to watch Championship games online.

Rights-holding media including the local newspaper and radio station plus Sky Sports and talkSPORT radio could amount to another 20 people, with more if a game were selected for live television coverage, in which case the EFL would also send someone.

Then there is club media – a mere three for the outfit in question, though they are aware some of their rivals seem to have as many as 10.

Finally, there is the question of how many club directors would attend, with the club planning for 10 per side.

Clubs are expecting to be back in training on May 16, though many are disappointed by the lack of communication and consultation from the EFL.

There are proposals for the Championship to return on June 6, playing 113 games in 56 days to complete the season by the end of July.

The division faces an issue with players whose contracts expire on June 30. However, football clubs have to pay them for July, as a result of it, if they do not find another club, or to top up the balance if they do and it is on a reduced salary, so while that represents an obstacle, it could be a manageable one. Some lower-league players have indicated a willingness to sign short-term deals to cover the end of an extended season.

Updated: April 16, 2020 04:48 PM

SHARE

NEWSLETTERS
Sign up to:

* Please select one