Prime Minister Boris Johnson backs football fans returning “as soon as possible”

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has given his full support to football fans returning to stadiums.

Johnson said he wanted crowds back into sporting venues “as soon as possible” when quizzed during Prime Minister’s Question Time on Wednesday.

That will be a huge boost to Premier League and EFL clubs who are pushing to get supporters back and have already been told there is a possibility it could happen in limited numbers from next month.

Johnson said: “I understand the frustration over fans and we hope to get crowds back in the ground as soon as possible.”

Football fans could soon return having not been at games since March

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Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden led a football summit meeting on Tuesday with the return of fans back on the agenda as the loss of gate receipts has left dozens of clubs facing financial ruin.

MPs are hoping to be able to give the green light to areas with lower infection rates from next month after the lockdown ends on December 2.

Former FA chairman David Bernstein, who was at the meeting earlier this week, said: "We have to be realistic and I suspect, if it happens, it will be a fairly small number of fans in areas that have a lower problem with the rate of Covid.

"I wouldn't be overly optimistic but clearly everybody wants this is as soon as possible."

Boris Johnson backed the return of fans during PMQs

The Government has also ordered the Premier League to bail out ailing EFL clubs facing financial hardship because of the pandemic.

Premier League chiefs have made a renewed offer to include the Championship and negotiations over a £50m package – £20m in grants and £30m worth of loans – are now ongoing.

But the potential return of fans will be a huge boost for the clubs who rely on gate receipts and also for supporters who have not been able to attend matches for nine months.

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