Players add their voice to the no fans ruling
SPOTLIGHT: Premiership players have not been afraid to voice their opinions in the wake of the UK Government decision to delay the reintroduction of fans to stadiums, Jack Nowell of Exeter and Worcester’s Ethan Waller among them.
In a measure to curtail the spread of Covid-19, it could be well into 2021 that supporters will be able to flock to grounds around England rather than the initial plans for an October return.
A number of Premiership players have shared their disappointment as well as their confusion, not least because fans can still go to pubs, for instance, to watch a match.
Worcester Warriors loosehead prop Ethan Waller has perhaps summed up the players’ response to this announcement the best. The 28-year-old is certainly not on his own in this response, as many others have echoed similar views.
He said: “Nobody is harder than a pandemic. Completely get why changes need to be made, but why can people watch sport with six mates in a pub getting pissed, but can’t sit in open stadiums which would be easy to socially distance at? Any chance of some common sense prevailing at any point?”
Nobody is harder than a pandemic. Completely get why changes need to be made, but why can people watch sport with 6 mates in a pub getting pissed, but can’t sit in open stadiums which would be easy to socially distance at?! Any chance of some common sense prevailing at any point?
— Ethan Waller (@beef324) September 22, 2020
England wing Nowell also had his say on the issue, the Exeter player tweeting: “How about this? ‘Open sports stadiums to whoever wants to go and watch, if you don’t, stay at home’. #justathought.”
How about this? ‘open sports stadiums to whoever wants to go and watch, if you don’t, stay at home’. #justathought
— Jack Nowell (@nowellsy15) September 23, 2020
Although it initially seems that the fans are the ones that miss out the most from empty stadiums, a range of sportspeople have discussed how unpleasant it is to perform in front of no one.
On an even more damaging note, however, the Rugby Football Union CEO Bill Sweeney has outlined the huge losses that unions face from having no spectators in the upcoming autumn internationals and even the Six Nations.
While most understand why such an approach is being taken, it has repeatedly been argued how much safer it is to have fans in an open stadium than it is to have them in other venues that are currently available to attend. Waller has simply voiced his confusion at this, which others have as well, and many more must be thinking.