It is with regret that Cambridge United have had to cancel Saturday’s pilot event with fans at the Abbey Stadium following the change in Government guidance yesterday and after consultation with public health authorities.
The Club had planned for a crowd of 2000 and had issued tickets accordingly. That capacity has now been halved following the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday afternoon and in discussion with relevant safety authorities, the Club has had to take the difficult and disappointing decision to play behind closed doors. This is no one’s fault - and everyone recognises that the national situation has changed - but it was felt that we would have been left with too many invalid tickets in circulation for a game where safety has to be the number one priority. Even with reticketing and regular direct communication to all fans over the next 24 hours, the short timeline means that the Club cannot entirely mitigate the risk to fans and stewards of people arriving in good faith for the game with tickets that are invalid and being unable to attend given the reduced capacity. Therefore, whilst it is a difficult decision to cancel the pilot, it is the right one in circumstances where we must all prioritise public health and safety.
We are very proud of the way our supporters behaved on Tuesday when Cambridge United became the first Football Club in the country to welcome fans back to a competitive fixture in a Covid-safe environment. We have not ruled out the possibility of holding another test event in the coming weeks with a 1000 capacity.
Cambridge United CEO Ian Mather commented: "We understand there will be disappointment from our supporters, but we hope they will recognise the reasoning as safety of all stakeholders has to be our key concern. We have looked long and hard at different solutions and held a number of discussions with the public health and safety authorities, but it is not possible to mitigate the obvious risks given the change overnight to capacity.
"Cambridge United remain very proud of the collective achievement on Tuesday night and must re-iterate the Football Club’s immense gratitude to the supporters whose exceptional co-operation contributed majorly to the evening’s success. We are hopeful that the knowledge and learnings gained will allow the return of supporters to stadiums across the country as soon as possible, and Cambridge United stands ready to participate in future pilots to accelerate that process at the appropriate time."
The Football Club will be communicating details to season ticket holders regarding free access to iFollow for the Home League fixture against Carlisle United in due course.