Consett chairman Frank Bell has this emotional message for the Football Association ahead of Wembley final
Consett chairman Frank Bell has called for the Football Association to use their FA Vase Final against Northern League rivals Hebburn Town as a test event for the return of supporters.
The North East duo are set to meet at Wembley Stadium on Monday 3rd May – although there was a blow after the governing body confirmed that the historic fixture would take place behind-closed-doors.
Hopes the decision would be overturned to allow supporters to attend were raised this week when the FA announced the FA Cup semi-finals and the Carabao Cup Final will both take place in front of a limited number of supporters in April.
The FA Cup Final has also been designated as a test event and up to 20,000 could take in the Wembley showpiece.
Steelmen chairman Bell has urged the governing body to treat non-league supporters as equals to their Premier League counterparts.
In a passionate statement he said: “We have written to all the authorities involved, including The FA, Government and our MPs, asking them to reconsider our event taking place on 3rd May as a pilot event with 12-15,000 spectators in attendance.
“The DCMS has the ability to allocate this event as a test event for spectators and we will continue to press them to consider this.
“As a club we would be negligent to not express our disappointment at the way our fans are being treated in comparison to those of the other clubs that are involved in these pilot events at Wembley.
“We have already been advised by The FA that the FA Vase final and FA Trophy final will be treated as an elite event, including testing and other protocols etc, and we would like our spectators to be treated as equals too.
“Our spectators are no different to those of Manchester City and Tottenham, and it is wrong that they are being treated as such.
“We will continue our considerable efforts to get fairness for our fans and we would like to thank our fellow Northern League club Hebburn Town, who have worked closely with us during the last year.”
Bell also confirmed Consett would be open to moving the Vase Final to a new date to allow supporters to attend.
A Government roadmap has designated Monday 17th May as a start date for a limited number of fans to return.
Bell stressed Northern League clubs would be open to discussions over moving their Wembley meeting to a new date.
“We are mindful of the suffering and challenges that the pandemic has created for so many, and clearly understand the importance of these.
“However, one of the many challenges has been the mental wellbeing of so many, and an event such as the FA Vase can create a major focus and release for so many at these difficult times. As a club, we will do all that we can to facilitate this.
“To that end we, the club, have agreed with the FA to any alternative dates that would allow our spectators to attend the FA Vase final at Wembley.
“Our position will not change with this, and we have made it clear that the club will be completely flexible and open to any proposal that will allow spectators in to watch the 2019-20 FA Vase final."