Preston North End fans must wait for season ticket sales to start

Preston North End are still working on the assumption they will be able to welcome fans back to Deepdale in October but continue to wait for instructions on how many are allowed.

Tuesday, 4th August 2020, 8:00 am

The Lilywhites’ last nine games of the 2019/20 season were played behind closed doors, four of those at home.

Next season will kick-off in front of empty stands too, with the plan being for supporters to return on a limited basis from October 1.

However, plans to have spectators at a select few sporting events to test how venues dealt with Covid-19 restrictions, were put on hold by the Government.

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Preston North End’s Deepdale ground

That was meant to happen from August 1 but plans have been delayed for a fortnight at the earliest.

Whether such a delay would impinge on football’s planning for October, remains to be seen. If it does happen to only be a two-week delay, not too much ground will have been lost.

PNE released a statement yesterday to explain why they had not put season tickets on sale yet.

Without knowing how little or how much of Deepdale they are able to use, North End are reluctant to start selling.

Club advisor Peter Ridsdale told the Lancashire Post: “There are two issues at play here, the first being how many people we will be allowed in the ground and secondly when that might happen –whether it will be from the start of October.

“We need clarification on both points and I think most fans realise that.

“As a club we think it would be so much better to know how many people we can get in the ground and from when, before we start selling season tickets.

“Otherwise we could be in a position where we sell an amount of season tickets and then find out we can’t have that many inside Deepdale.

“We are ready to go with season tickets, we have plans in place but the Government’s decision to delay trials of crowds at certain sporting events have made us hold off.

“We are in regular contact with the EFL on the matter, who are part of discussions with the Government.”

There have been figures bandied about in the media as to what capacities clubs might be limited to.

To start with, grounds could be operating at 30% capacity or less in order to meet social distancing rules.

The design of a stadium, its turnstiles and concourse size, could all have a bearing.

It is unlikely that away fans will be allowed at matches to start with.

Some clubs have put season tickets on sale already but could face a situation where they are having to give refunds if they do not have the necessary capacity.