Next Game: Pre-Season Friendly - Melksham Town Away on Saturday 7th July

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Swine Flu could Disrupt Football

The news that DHS staff have admitted they could force the FA to make England play its World Cup qualifier with Croatia in September behind closed doors has sent a message to the football authorites that Swine Flu must be taken seriously.

And it's also been revealed that football stadium managers should ban fans that look like sufferers.

"Places like Wembley and the O2 would be an ideal place for the virus to breed. All it needs is one sufferer and before you know it hundreds are in danger," said a spokesman.

"Stadium bosses have been warned to deal with the pandemic very seriously, and staff have been told to take a very hard line on customers suffering from the virus. People could be chucked out."

Whilst at present there shouldn't be any need to curtail attendance at football matches, there is the possibility that should Swine Flu affect more of the population, measurers may need to be put in place which might mean some behind closed doors matches.

Recently Government minister Andy Burnham was asked if he would be concerned about attending a football match with his children.

"Everyone has to make their own judgements and it's not for me to lay the law down to any parent," said Burnham.

"I am the parent of three children and I think everybody's anxiety levels would have raised a little last week when the very sad death of a child was announced."

The last time there was talk of suspending games was during the foot and mouth crisis in 2001.

Then the Herefordshire FA voted to suspend all home matches involving clubs under its jurisdiction - bar one, Hereford United, following nine outbreaks of the virus in the county famous for its beef cattle.

However, several senior non-league clubs who had already indicated their support for local farmers were furious to discover that an exception to the ban had been made for FA Trophy semi finalists Hereford United, who were told that they could continue to pay at Edgar Street during the epidemic.

Officials at Westfields were angry because their Rotherwas ground lies in the middle of an industrial estate well away from farmland - and, like Edgar Street, is part of Hereford's urban area.

Kington Town chairman Bill Mayglothing said that while he supported moves to protect farmers, it was ludicrous to believe that 2,500 fans visiting a Hereford United home game would pose less of a risk to farmers than a much smaller number visiting non-league grounds which also did not come into contact with farmland.

He accused the county FA of double standards - and made his feelings clear in a series of telephone calls to Lancaster Gate.

Following his approach, county FA chairman Ted Powell, who had earlier said that his committee would have been 'crucified' if it had tried to ban Hereford United's home games, stated that the situation would now be monitored on a daily basis.