Levy has pitched ambitious plans to the Premier League | Alex Burstow/Getty Images
Daniel Levy wants to host a test event at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium that will utilise 50% of the arena’s capacity and is keen to invite 31,000 spectators to a match before the end of September.
The UK government are approaching the return of fans to sporting stadia cautiously and won’t sanction a blanket easing of restrictions until at least October. Exceptions will be granted for specific pilot events, however – Brighton’s pre-season friendly with Chelsea was the first football match in England to have fans in attendance since March.
But while the match at the Amex Stadium ran at less than 10% capacity, Levy wants to up the ante significantly. The Guardian say he has proposed to league shareholders a trial event at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, where he feels half of the stadium’s 62,000 capacity can be safely filled.
• Tottenham hope to host test event in front of 31,000 supporters
• Daniel Levy made proposal at Premier League meeting
• Plan would see half of the stadium’s capacity in use
• Levy wants fans back ASAP#COYS #THFC #Tottenham #Spurs pic.twitter.com/VYwYOVc31M
— Chris Cowlin (@ChrisCowlin) September 3, 2020
That seems doubtful at face value. Physical distancing is expected to be difficult to implement even at the previously suggested cap of 25-30%; with half the stadium occupied, it would be next to impossible.
Levy, however, is keen to use other measures to ensure fan safety. He feels the use of technology – which could include digital health passports, smartphone apps and temperature checks – could be an alternative to keeping fans apart.
He is said to have pitched the idea to Premier League shareholders at a meeting on Thursday and wants to hold the event as soon as possible, even before the government’s target date of 1 October. Having fans in the stadium for next weekend’s clash with Everton is a practical impossibility, but Levy may have 26 September’s visit of Newcastle in mind for a return of fans.
Levy and the Tottenham directors standing at a sensible physical distance | Julian Finney/Getty Images
There is no word on the response to Levy’s proposals as yet, but while the possibility of returning at half capacity will be financially enticing for clubs, there is likely to be substantial scepticism over the viability of his plans.