Richard Holden, Member of Parliament for North West Durham, has written to the CEO of the FA along with Andrew Jones, MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough, Rebecca Harris, MP for Castle Point and Kate Osborne, MP for Jarrow, to request that the FA Vase Finals be postponed to allow fans to attend.
Set to be held on the 3rd May, the FA Vase Finals and the 2019/20 FA Trophy, postponed from last year, are being held at Wembley behind closed doors. It is the first time Consett AFC will have been to Wembley in 120 years.
Richard and his Parliamentary colleagues have now written to the FA to ask that the finals be rescheduled to a date when fans can attend, describing the current date as a ‘challenge’ for many fans, and pointing out that, for many, this is a ‘once in a century moment’. The MPs acknowledge the difficulties that the FA has had with rescheduling football matches, but states that the reorganisation of the match to enable spectators would be a ‘small price for a huge reward’, pointing out the potentially huge financial benefit for the clubs, the game, and the recognition a rescheduling would give to fans, ensuring their voices are heard.
This follows Andrew Jones MP’s question during Prime Minister’s Questions, during which he asked if the Prime Minister would back the football matches being rescheduled - you can watch this here. The Prime Minister stated he hoped that the FA would ‘listen carefully’ to the MP’s requests. Richard has also spoken up for Consett AFC fans in the House of Commons during Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Questions, when he urged the Minister of State for Media and Data to speak to the FA on their behalf, and Kate Osborne has requested that Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport work with the FA to make the final a pilot event for allowing the safe return of spectators to such sporting events.
You can watch Richard speaking about the VA Fase in the House of Commons here
Commenting, Richard Holden, Member of Parliament for North West Durham, said:
“Coronavirus has meant enormous changes for all of us over the past year, with many of us making huge sacrifices, and it is a great relief that we are able to now look to the restrictions being lifted and look forward to the next few months and what they will bring.
“However, for those who were hoping to attend the FA Vase Final – especially those who had made plans to attend last year – the news that the matches will be held behind closed doors is enormously disappointing. Getting a place in a Wembley final really is a holy grail and I know that many of my constituents and others across the country are feeling incredibly let down by the FA’s decision to hold the match before restrictions are lifted.
“I am delighted to be working with Andrew, Kate and Rebecca as we ask the FA to urgently reconsider the decision and look at rescheduling the date to allow supporters across the country to attend the matches – attending matches could be done safely and in line with coronavirus restrictions, and I know that fans would all be happy to see the date postponed to allow them to attend. I have also spoken to the FA myself on behalf of Consett AFC and have been liaising with Consett Chairman Frank Bell to do everything I can to ensure Consett’s views are represented. I strongly urge the FA considers our request and recognises how much this would mean to thousands of people across the country.”
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