The following article is from www.herefordfc.co.uk
With every day that passes there is changing information as to how football can proceed.
But what does that mean for us all at Edgar Street?
Only last week, the HFC board were pleased that the FA confirmed guidance, from the government, for the return of competitive football and that the Vanarama National League North season could possibly be starting as early as September 5th 2020! At that point, the authorities were still working on how matches could be played with fans in attendance, hoping to allow at least limited capabilities, into stadiums, as soon as possible. The HFC board have focused their attention on evaluating how the guidance would affect the Club directly and to maximise the opportunity for as many fans to attend as possible. All within the strict SGSA (Sports Ground Safety Authority) social distancing guidelines, as the initial capacity on any resumption of football is expected to be significantly reduced.
The EFL have now published that the National Leagues 1 & 2 will start on the 12th of September 2020, potentially pushing the Vanarama NLN back a week from the initial guidance but with no confirmation yet from the FA as to how soon fans will be allowed into the stadium. The current understanding and expectation is that matches may be behind closed doors for at least 3 weeks at the start of the season.
Current government guidance states that gatherings of more than 30 people are not permitted while social distancing, therefore, Hereford FC understands that to mean no fans are allowed at pre season friendlies or non league games under current rules. The FA is, however, working with the DCMS (The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport) to consider the option of socially distanced fans in groups of 6 (or 2 households)
This current uncertainty obviously affects any immediate decisions for the forthcoming season and naturally the HFC board want as minimal disruption, to supporters, as possible but with safety uppermost in their minds, so clarity on the situation must be secured before any decisions can be finalised.
In the meantime, what is happening at Edgar Street?
Behind the scenes the Board and key worker Staff & Volunteers are working tirelessly on:
- Enhanced hygiene, cleaning the stadium in readiness for a start date
- Compiling a new Risk Assessment in line with new covid regulations
- Making any necessary stadium changes to comply with these new regulations
- Standard regular Inspections & Tests, with subsequent works around the stadium, to keep the “Old Girl” safe for us all
- Implementing new Hygiene Stations
- Manning the temporary Club shop
- Working with the league to bring football back to Edgar Street
- Josh & Steve working with and sourcing new players
- Sourcing a suitable training ground
- New Ideas and alternative options, in anticipation of how the new normal may look
Chairman, Andrew Graham said: “This is a really significant project to ensure we comply with legal requirements, scientific advice, FA and National League and keep this as safe an environment for all. I shall personally have responsibility as HFC’s designated COVID-19 Officer, to oversee proceedings.”
So How Can You help?
The HFC board is aware that many fans are keen to support the Club through this challenging time. Our Volunteers are an essential part of the Club and have continued to provide invaluable support whilst the Club comes out of hibernation and 5 members of staff still on furlough.
Here are just a few ways you can help while we wait for confirmation of a start date from The Vanarama National League:
- Do you have specialist skills that would benefit the Club in the delivery of the new Covid Compliance upgrades? Contact James Watts – 01432 268257
- Do you or a family member own a business that would like to consider one of the commercial options available? Contact James Watts – 01432 268257
- Over 120 face masks and 350+ replica shirts have now been sold. Have you bought yours yet from the Club Shop ?
- Look out for our poll on an option being considered by the HFC board, who would like your input..
Hereford FC would like to thank the 30+ sponsors who have already committed to the 2020/21 season. Supporting Hereford FC to continue to be sustainable along with the additional stadium Covid-19 compliance upgrades, now required. Not forgetting, you, the fans, who have bought Club merchandise, either directly or online, made donations or taken part in any of the fundraising via HUST. We are definitely #InThisTogether – Thank You.
This is an exciting time to be involved with Hereford FC, as it feels like a new beginning and an exciting future ahead.