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Bills Bulletin

Bill’s Bulletin: pressing ahead with the new season

I don’t know about you but I’ve never watched so many Government press conferences in my life.

The daily No.10 briefings are over – let’s hope that continues – but yesterday saw the Culture Secretary take to the podium to announce the next phase of easing the lockdown.

First announcement: Glyndebourne can go ahead. Phew! Pimms O’ Clock.

Next: gyms can open from Saturday 25th July – hallelujah! That will come in handy for all those eating out on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in August on the Government’s restaurant discount scheme!

The list continued. From tans to tattoos, more and more businesses are set to reopen from this weekend.

And then it came to sport. Recreational cricket is back tomorrow, and the starting pistol has been fired for the return of grassroots football! Wonderful news.

The Football Association will be submitting an action plan for Government approval. One assumes this has been in draft form for some time and is receiving a final read through before submission.

‘In the meantime, competitive grassroots football can prepare to return and look forward to the start of the new season.’ That was a line from last night’s FA statement.

Back in March and April, the start of the new season seemed like a distant dream but here it is being discussed and hopefully guidance could be made available as early as next week.

Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. As with all officialdom, the devil is in the detail.

What requirements will be placed on clubs before the turnstile takes its first spin?

The FA and our league have said football’s return will be with spectators but will clubs have a capacity quota imposed on them? Will we have all-ticket fixtures to enable track and trace information to be collected?

The questions are endless and the stuff of sleepless nights but hopefully the speculation will be over soon and we will have clear guidelines to follow.

I am anticipating a quick turnaround. Outdoor pools and outdoor theatres were given 48-hours’ notice, spas and tattooists four days.

While I am not expecting that, our usual 12-week close season and pre-season could be almost halved. Having said that, we’ve had four months of downtime, so are more than ready to go.

Can I therefore put you all on standby for the new season? How nice it is to be saying that.

As soon as we’re able, once the guidelines are published and digested, we will be announcing admission and season ticket information, renewing and selling ad boards, working on sponsorships – the list is a long one.

It has been a tough few months and the road ahead is paved with uncertainty. Coronavirus is far from over and it’s never been more important for everyone to follow the guidance.

If we all do, then this new normal has a chance of succeeding.

Enjoy your weekend safely and here’s hoping next week gives us the chance to move on and get you all back to the Gallagher in the very near future.