Thursday, 26 November 2020 | In Focus

Bees United has drawn up a guide for members on how Championship clubs are working within the new COVID rules.  
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  1. Each club starts off on 2nd December in a particular ‘Tier’ based on their location. So clubs in Tier Two, such as Brentford, will be able to allow 2,000 people to attend home games. But on December 16th the Government will review which area is in which tier, this means that some clubs could change tiers and those currently in Tier Two could then have more fans or no fans at their home games.The tiers are reviewed every 14 days after that creating yet more possibilities of movement between the tiers.
  2. In normal times a season ticket-holder (STH) can go to every game. Now they will have to go into their club’s ticketing system to try to book a ticket and it is most unlikely they will be able to attend every game. 
  3. Clubs are surveying fans in advance to see if they want to attend these games. That is mostly to help with planning. There could be a variety of reasons why fans don’t want to attend at all; they might be shielding or can’t travel because of the tier they live in or they may not want to watch a game in a stadium which is only 15% full. 
  4. Normally if a season ticket-holder exercises their right not to go to a game that has no real impact on anybody else, but in a limited attendance game every ‘no show’ is a wasted opportunity that another fan could have used.
  5. Groups of fans who normally sit together won’t be able to do that, only fans who are in the same household. Clubs have the address of every fan at the date that they bought a season-ticket but fans may have moved since then. Some may have changed households because of the pandemic, either moving back to their family home or moving out.
  6. Trying to accommodate household groups sitting together in a stadium means that the whole seating plan has to be changed. There is no way that STHs can assume they will be in the same seat or even in the same stand that they bought their season-ticket for.
  7. Within a household group there will be some fans who are long-term STHs and others who are more recent. That means that at the very first game there may be some fans in a household group who have bought their very first season ticket. .
  8. All this is a big challenge for ticketing systems.  Brentford’s system has never been used before for a limited attendance game. 
  9. Championship clubs are in different tiers: 13 clubs are in Tier 3 meaning there can be no fans,9 are in Tier 2 with up to 2,000 fans but none are in Tier 1 which allows for up to 4,000 fans. The two Welsh clubs, Cardiff and Swansea, are subject to the separate rules of the Welsh Government.
  10. All Championship clubs make money on normal match days from selling tickets to non-STHs, including away fans, plus selling them food and drink. At these games there won’t be any non-STHs. But clubs will still have to pay the stewards and other match day staff. The bottom line is that it is likely that clubs will lose money on each game. 

Bees United has asked Brentford FC  to exercise as much flexibility as possible while dealing with fans’ requests in these difficult circumstances. In return BU asks that we, the fans, should treat Brentford FC staff with respect remembering that they are trying to enable us to watch a game in the stadium most of us have not yet visited.


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