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Former sports minister Tracey Crouch leads calls for football fans to be allowed back into non-league grounds

The government is coming under pressure to let non-league football fans back into stadiums or risk losing clubs forever.

Chatham and Aylesford MP Tracey Crouch has co-written a letter to sports minister Nigel Huddleston calling for the “urgent return” of supporters, given lockdown restrictions have been eased in other areas.

Tracey Crouch has written to the sports minister
Tracey Crouch has written to the sports minister

The new season is set to start behind closed doors, leaving non-league clubs struggling without any matchday revenue.

Crouch, herself a former sports minister, and fellow MP Cheryl Gillan wrote to Huddeston, explaining: “As representatives of these local clubs we fear that if (we) don’t do something soon, they will be lost forever.”

Crouch points out that gate and refreshment income streams are “vital for financial sustainability” and says the situation non-league clubs find themselves in is “incomparable” to Football League sides.

Maidstone's Gallagher Stadium
Maidstone's Gallagher Stadium

The MP added: “While we appreciate the challenges of getting a larger number of supporters back into league stadia, especially due to fans having to travel using public transport to and from their clubs, non-league clubs tend to be supported by those within the town itself.

“Given we are now allowing indoor activities to resume in a Covid-safe way, we simply do not understand why non-league football clubs in outdoor stadia cannot allow their small but loyal fans back in through the gates.”

Read more: The latest sports news in Kent

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