Clubs preparing to return to action in front of their own fans are also poised to suffer a loss in the games they are about to play.
And they urge the government to come up with a clear plan for them to increase visitor numbers over the next two months.
For the first time in nearly nine months, the government gave clubs the green light to accept fans under the new tier system that will go into effect when the national ban is lifted on December 2nd.
Followers were forced to wear masks, except on their seats, during a test at Amex in August
According to the new rules, up to 4,000 fans may be admitted to elite sports in tier 1 areas, 2,000 fans can participate in tier 2 areas, while fans cannot participate in games in tier 3 zones.
Boris Johnson will announce on Thursday which area will be in which category.
One of the first clubs that are expected to benefit is Brighton and Hove Albion, which could be in a first or second tier area. Brighton will host local rival Southampton on Saturday 5th December.
“The reality is that if we bring back 2,000 or even 4,000 fans, we’ll lose more money than if we probably have an empty stadium, but psychologically it’s really important that we take the first step,” said Paul Barber, general manager from Brighton. That would take around 8,000 in the stadium to break even.
Brighton hosted a test event in August when Chelsea visited the Amex Stadium
“While most Premier League clubs are likely to lose money, we all want to do so for psychological reasons, as the staff will be increased and some fans will receive a small reward for doing so.”
Football clubs welcomed the first step towards a return to fans in the stadiums, and urged the government to explain exactly how they can move from the 4,000 fan limit to bigger attendance.
“It’s only sustainable in the very short term for clubs our size or stadiums our size,” said Barber.
‘We are already going to add significant losses that we are making. For clubs further down the pyramid, this is potentially a financial lifeline and a really important one for those clubs. So this is really good news for her.
“We look forward to proving to the government that we can safely bring fans back,” he added.
Visitors to the Amex on Saturday 5th December will be Southampton’s local rivals
No public was allowed to attend events during the national lockdown in England
“We’re grateful that this is a first step, and I think we’d like to see a roadmap from the government at some point that will help us understand their logic and expand our crowd.”
“Our goal is to get to a place where we can increase the number of fans who will return safely to the stadium as quickly as possible,” added Barber.
“And if we can do that, it will bring football back to a much more sustainable position that we have been in for some time.”
Fans have been largely excluded from top-class sport since the first coronavirus pandemic in March.
However, Brighton, along with nine clubs in the EFL, ran successful testing events in August and September to allow fans to return from October 1st.
Paul Barber, the managing director of Brighton, has put in place a system for fans to return safely