Banbury United disappointed fans not allowed and concerned about financial impact


Club only discovered FA decision at same time as supporters during live TV draw

Puritans supporters are feeling mixed emotions as Banbury United count down to their FA Cup First Round clash against Canvey Island.   Around town there is a feeling of nervous excitement as the club stands on the edge of creating history with its best ever FA Cup performance.    However, that excitement is mixed with disappointment that loyal supporters won’t be allowed into the ground to watch the match.

Now Banbury United have revealed they only discovered fans would not be allowed into the Banbury Plant Hire Stadium for the home clash when they saw it announced during the televised draw.

The club has issued a statement noting its disappointment.   It says: “We have worked hard to comply with FA and wider government guidance in staging matches and we are continuing to learn from experience and revise our procedures as the season unfolds.

“We are very disappointed that our loyal supporters, many of whom are owners of the club, through membership of the Community Benefit Society, will not be able to be present to watch this historic game. We know the players and team management value your support greatly and share this disappointment.”

The Club has highlighted the financial impact of the decision: “We of course will no longer get a ‘gate’ nor the secondary spend that our amazing volunteers helped us generate on Saturday. We anticipate there will still be costs to be met – for example opposition travel, match officials (these were upwards of £500 on Saturday including a 4th official), security. At this stage we do not know how these costs will be covered.”

In light of the expenses of hosting the fixture the Club is also concerned about the prize fund available: “We have seen on social media that the previously announced prize money for the 1st Round has been changed by the FA so that the match losers now get approx. a quarter of the previously notified winners’ prize money – their prize money is reduced by that amount.”

The FA has confirmed the position: “In recognition of this decision [to not allow supporters to view matches], and the financial implications for those affected, winning and losing clubs will now receive 75 per cent and 25 per cent of the prize money for their respective fixture.

“This means first round proper winners will collect £16,972 and losing clubs will receive £5657 from the prize fund. The same situation will occur in the second round, where winners will get £25,500 and losing teams taking home £8500.”

For those relying on watching a stream of the Puritans clash with Canvey Island it appears Banbury United will have more challenges to overcome.   The FA says: “For the 2020-21 season only, the 24 fixtures that are not selected for broadcast in the first round proper are permitted to be streamed live by the clubs competing in them if they do not clash with the kick-off times of the first four broadcast picks which will be announced in due course.”

Banbury United suffered teething problems with their first attempt at streaming last weekend but have been applauded by supporters for trying.   The Club realises enabling a stream for the next game will be a challenge: “We know that our streaming provision did not work for the last round. With Oxford City having a home tie too it is very unlikely that we will be able to work with them and CJP this time round.

“Clubs at higher levels, where spectators are not permitted, have received funding in compensation, which they have been able to use to invest in streaming infrastructure. We do not have the benefit of this.   We will raise this issue with the FA and also our colleagues at the FSA.”

“However, rest assured our investigation into how the game can be streamed has already started and we will update when we can”.

Since the news was announced that supporters wouldn’t be allowed in to watch the match a number of people have told us their thoughts.

Gordon Boffin said; “It’s a real travesty that no spectators will be allowed in to watch.”

Keith Davies said, “It literally sums up what supporting (rather than being a fan of) a team that isn’t a premier league brand is all about.

“They do next to nothing for season after season, yet you still go just in case you miss that magic moment and you can share stories for years to come about the 5-5 draw when you were 3-5 down with a minute to go.

“Then sometimes just sometimes (in this case maybe twice in a lifetime) something really special happens, like Banbury being read out in the same competition as Oxford United (or a massive club like that) on BBC TV and what happens? the rug is pulled away from underneath you.”

However Ivor House understands the decision, saying: “at this time I think they have got it right.”

Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam

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