Cheryl Gillan MP has written to the Government asking for football fans to return to stadiums to watch non-league matches.

Since the start of lockdown five months ago, a number of non-league teams have admitted to struggling financially due to no games being played, as well as no fans being allowed to enter their premises due to the current pandemic.

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This has led to some teams letting players or backroom staff go.

The current health and financial crisis has also impacted Football League clubs, with Wigan Athletic, who were in the Premier League between 2005 and 2013, becoming the first team to enter administration due to the pandemic.

But Mrs Gillan, who represents the Chesham and Amersham constituency, wrote a letter to the Minister for Sport Nigel Huddleston, to explain why football fans need to return to non-league matches.

She said: “We are writing to request the Government allow for the urgent return of fans to non-league football clubs, which are at the heart of our constituencies and fir whose future we fear.

“Our non-league football structure across England is football at its purest, often at the heart of our community, rich in diversity and a starting point for many a talented footballer, but unlike League football, cannot rely on broadcast or sponsorship income streams.

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“Their gate and refreshment income streams are vital for financial sustainability even if beyond level 5, crowds are on average, the hundreds rather than the thousands.

“For example, in step three, where Chesham United play, the average attendance for the 2019/20 season was 393.

“While there are outliers in lower steps, many club gates are in double figures but enough with bar takings to just about sustain the club.

“Yet the fans returning to support their small local clubs is being considered in the same way as League football clubs, which is incomparable and ultimately unfair.

“Many of our non-league clubs joined wealthier league cousins in supporting their local communities throughout the pandemic, providing targeted and appreciated support for neighbouring residents, and in return, deserve our support for the return of their fans.

“While we appreciate the challenges of getting a larger number of supporters back into league stadia, especially due to the fans having to travel using public transport to and from their clubs, non-league clubs tend to be supported by those within the town itself.

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“Given we are now allowing indoor activities to resume in a Covid-safe way, we simply do no understand why non-league football clubs in outdoor stadia cannot allow their small but loyal fans back in through the gates.

“As representatives of these local clubs, we fear that if we don’t do something soon, they will be lost forever.

“Therefore, we urge you to consider the return of supporters to non-league clubs separately to league club and urgently open the gates and let fans in.”

It is not known when football fans can enter stadiums again.