NHS advice - Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Noah Dougherty
Wednesday 18 March 2020

We understand that fans will have many questions about what goes on behind the scenes at a football club at a time like this, and we want to keep you up to date.

CEO Henry Staelens has answered your questions, in hopes of shedding some light on how we're tackling the COVID-19 outbreak:

When the virus lifts will you let us know if there are any jobs that fans could volunteer with, to help get the club ready for football again whilst saving the club some money? I'm sure there's a good few of us who would be happy to help out with work parties etc. if needed.

Sounds like a cool idea. We have lots of plans for The New Lawn in terms of improvements for next season, which we may now bring forward during this odd amount of ‘spare time’, so stay tuned and we’ll let you know if there is anything you can get involved with. The main thing is to keep our fans and staff happy and healthy during this difficult period, and then we can look at what’s next.

How do we pay the bills and staff with no income?

There’s still income. If you break down the club into four areas (matchday, events, retail and sponsorship), we are missing out on two of the four at present. However, we’ve had a strong year commercially – it will just not be as good as it was projected to be a few weeks ago, which is disappointing but it’s a healthy position to be in.

When are you offering refunds!!!? I'm out on statutory sick pay for the foreseeable future and could really use my money back.

We are communicating closely with the EFL on this, as are all other clubs. At present, we are being told that games will start again in April, but if this is not the case then they will need to be clear about what the plan is and we can then issue part-refunds promptly etc. where applicable.

Are we digging the pitch up to fix it before the season re-opens?

The pitch will have considerable work done, but not before the season re-opens, that just wouldn’t work timing wise with the uncertainty around stuff. It will take place in the summer, as per usual.

When are next year's season tickets going on sale?

These were ready to be launched this month, but we now need to wait to understand the outcome of this season – are fixtures going to be fulfilled, how many games will there be next season, when will it start/finish etc. I hate to pass the buck but, again, until the EFL confirm a plan we can’t do much regarding future fixtures/ticketing.

Has FGR any plans similar to Stevenage of volunteering some members of playing staff (mainly apprentices) to help in community work such as delivering food to the housebound etc?

It’s still early days in this situation, and for the next couple of weeks we have a huge amount of work to get through to ensure the club is ahead of the curve. After this, once we truly know the scale of the off-period, then we will certainly be looking at ways to further support our community, whilst making sure we follow the government guidance. We’ve already started donating/delivering food to local charities, and we will continue to do this.

When will the rescheduled match dates be released?

We hope to know this sooner rather than later, but it sits with the EFL at present.

If the season is cancelled, will season ticket holders get refunds for missed games?

Similar to the earlier question, we will act on this promptly as soon as we know what is actually happening. It’s utter guesswork for everyone at the moment around what the future holds for the COVID-19 outbreak, but we are keen to see a plan from the EFL sooner rather than later so we can communicate this with our fans.