Arsenal have begun members’ screenings of their matches at the Emirates Stadium while games remain behind closed doors, starting with their next one at Manchester City.
Arsenal on Thursday confirmed plans to admit up to 368 fans to their ground a week on Saturday, a day after Telegraph Sport revealed English Football League clubs had drawn up plans to screen matches at their own stadiums.
Those attending Arsenal’s screening face temperature and ID checks on arrival – with their personal details retained for coronavirus test and trace purposes – and must wear a mask when not dining in the hospitality areas where the game will be shown.
The club were charging £49 per person (£29 for children) for what it labelled the ‘Invincibles Package’ and £169 per person for the ‘Marble Package’.
The former package will be hosted in the Dial Square restaurant, with those attending served pizza and drinks while watching the match on big screens, as well as being given the opportunity to have a photo with the Community Shield.
The latter package will be hosted in The WM, the club’s “exclusive fine-dining restaurant”, and will include a three-course meal with drinks, a photo opportunity with the FA Cup, an Arsenal legend Q&A, a prize draw, and an exclusive gift and retail discounts.
Staging screenings at their own grounds is the latest move in English football’s fight to get fans back into stadiums.
The EFL wrote to its clubs on Wednesday asking them to provide details of how they could safely stage such screenings inside their own grounds.
The letter was sent less than 24 hours after the Football Association, Premier League, and EFL piled pressure on ministers to review its fan ban in an open letter to supporters. The latter even promoted a petition on the matter parliament must now consider for debate by MPs after the number of people signing it crashed through the 100,000 mark.
The fact games are already being screened in pubs and cinemas amid the on-going spectator ban, and that major arts and music venues have been told they can run socially-distanced events indoors, has united English football in opposition to the on-going restrictions.
According to Thursday’s EFL letter to its clubs, the public screening of matches could form part of a “hospitality package” sold to fans, something that would allow teams to generate some desperately-needed revenue and also prove they can safely welcome back a limited number of supporters.
Clubs were told any areas used for a screening “must not have sight of the pitch”, must comply with Government guidance in relation to hospitality businesses, and must ensure those attending do not enter areas of the stadium subject to strict coronavirus match-day protocols.
-0- Oct/08/2020 15:56 GMT