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Gloucestershire Business News

Forest Green picked to open doors for fans

Forest Green Rovers will welcome back fans to The New Lawn for the first time when they host Bradford City in League Town on Saturday.

It is one of 10 Football League matches selected for the latest pilot with up to 1,000 fans allowed through the turnstiles.

Chairman Dale Vince described the announcement as "fab news".

He tweeted: "We've done all the planning and preparation, now we want to put it into practise ahead of getting fans back in limited numbers more regularly, we hope, in October.

"Looking forward to Saturday even more now."

And he had a clear message for fans who attend - "no mask, no entry".

Entry will be restricted to Rovers fans who have bought season tickets by 3pm on Thursday with supporters required to wear face coverings and have a temperature check on arrival.

No catering outlets or bars will be open but fans will be allowed to bring their own food and non-alcoholic drinks into the stadium.

A statement on the club website said: "The club has put in an exception amount of work into planning for the return of fans and we are encourage by the opportunity to allow season ticket holders into the stadium for this test event."

The latest pilot follows 1,000 fans being allowed into Gloucester Rugby's defeat to Harlequins at Kingsholm on Monday with a similar number at the Cherry and Whites' next game at Bath on Tuesday.

EFL chairman Rick Parry said: "It's encouraging that we are in a position to move forward with the next phase of the pilot programme and give a small number of our clubs the opportunity to welcome back up to a 1,000 fans this week.

"The requirement to welcome spectators back through turnstiles has not diminished in any way, the financial challenges facing EFL clubs have been explained on numerous occasions, they are substantial and a problem that requires immediate solutions."

The pilot scheme was restricted to 1,000 spectators last week with plans for larger attendances from October 1 under review.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: "I know that many fans are eager to return to football and that jobs depend on this too, so fans will welcome this news.

"This will help us build the evidence base to see how we can return fans safely in greater numbers as soon as it is safe to do so."

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