Valley to open in September
Valley to open in September

Football is still subject to strict social distancing regulations, both for players and staff. Social distancing can not be enforced in games of course, so it is difficult to understand how a return to competitive action has been sanctioned.

The rules have clearly been relaxed considerably. Stoke manager, Michael O’Neill, recently tested positive for coronavirus at Manchester‎ United’s training ground prior to a friendly, and had to self isolate.

But a few weeks ago the entire Stoke squad would have been quarantined for 14 days.

The resumption of the season is just a few days away now, but how long will it be before fans can go to games?

It was thought all games would be played behind closed doors until January at least, possibly the whole of next season could be spectator free.

The effect on lower league clubs would have been devastating, matchday money was their main revenue stream.

The EFL have been working hard to devise a plan to get fans back into the grounds. It seems possible that fans up to a maximum of 25% of a stadium’s capacity may be allowed entry.

For lower league sides with small attendances, that would not be a problem.

For some of the bigger Championship sides, there could be issues.

At The Valley, a 25% limit would mean less than 7,000 fans could be admitted. That would not be enough to cover all season ticket holders.

Also, there would be social distancing issues. For example, there are nine seats – all season ticket holders – in the row where I sit. If there has to be a gap between fans, how will it be decided who is displaced?

So there will be issues to overcome, and possibly only Leagues One and Two will be allowed to open their gates.

Bizarrely, relegation may be the best chance Addicks fans have of seeing their team at The Valley in the near future.