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Fans campaign to open doors on Wembley's FA Trophy and Vase finals

calendario 21.03.2021
by: Zach
  • England
Fans campaign to open doors on Wembley's FA Trophy and Vase finals

Non-league fans rejoiced when the FA scheduled the FA Trophy and Vase finals for May 3rd 2021. Consett Town and Hebburn town will create a historic all-North East FA Vase final, while Concord Rangers face the newly-promoted League Two Harrogate Town for the FA Trophy. These games offer huge cultural and financial significance for the clubs and their communities, who have survived despite COVID-19’s impact on the nation.

Despite lockdown restrictions easing in Britain, the FA and government’s DCMS stated that the matches will play out behind closed doors. This comes as bitter news for non-league fans and staff alike, a bitterness deepened by the parallel FA Cup final less than two weeks later on May 15th. The FA and DCMS decided to use the FA Cup final as a pilot event, and let fans attend to test their security measures.

Harrogate Town’s Chairman Irving Weaver spoke out against the decision, calling it “tragic for fans.” In a statement, Weaver referenced the current Wembley plans with the fact that Harrogate have “never been there in 106 years and we get there twice in the space of one year and no fans allowed. It’s really sad.” 

Consett chairman Frank Bell stated simply that “we are gutted,” and Durham MP Richard Hold even questioned the policy in parliament. In response, the DCMS minister Oliver Dowden stated that “we will of course keep this under review, and if there were a possibility, of course we would take it.”

To add pressure to this “review,” and highlight a “possibility,” Harrogate’s Support Liaison Officer took matters into his own hands. The officer, Phillip Handsworth, launched a petition entitled “Make the date of the Non-league finals at Wembley a test event to allow fans in!” The petition aimed to accrue 1,000 signatures and has already surpassed the 960 mark. This grassroots popularity and ambition matches the founding ethos of Non-league sport, reigniting supporters’ hopes going forward.

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