Jersey Reds to open their gates again

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Up to 1,000 supporters will be permitted to attend Saturday’s Greene King IPA Championship fixture against Nottingham at Stade Santander, following confirmation from the Government of Jersey that community guidelines will apply within the ground.

Reds officials remained unsure of their ability to open their gates until as late as yesterday afternoon, when chairman Mark Morgan received assurances from Public Health.

‘Given that physical distancing is now a recommendation and not a law, we were seeking clarity on whether there would be any liability on our board members or the club,’ Morgan explained. ‘The answer is “no”, and that liability rests on the individuals, although it is not a law.

‘We will be making sure there are plenty of one-metre distancing signs everywhere and we’ll be reminding people on the tannoy, but we won’t be policing it. Individuals have to understand that it’s their responsibility to follow the guidelines.’

Morgan said that the club’s pre-match corporate lunch will be served, as table service is allowed under the current guidelines, but all outdoor bars will remain closed. The sale of drinks will only be permitted inside the club’s marquee, at tables.

There will also be a strict ‘online only’ ticket-sale policy.

‘We want to make sure we do it in a safe way so we are going to limit it to a maximum of 1,000 people and all tickets will have to be acquired online before the game, including for members and season-ticket holders,’ Morgan added. ‘By doing that we can control the numbers … there will be no sales on the gate.

‘’Government requirements are to not exceed 50% of a venue’s capacity. We’re coming in well under 50% but we feel that “conservative” is the way to go.’

‘We are really excited and we can’t wait to have everyone back at the Stade.’

Premiership rugby first allowed supporters back into stadiums in September last year, with the Premier League following suit for a brief spell in December.

Jersey’s first home game since February 2020 will be the first Championship fixture to feature a crowd since the pandemic began.

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