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Limit on fans is costing us more money: Cliftonville chief Begley


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Cliftonville's Solitude stadium.

Cliftonville's Solitude stadium.

Kevin Scott / Presseye

Cliftonville's Solitude stadium.

Cliftonville's Chief Operating Officer David Begley says allowing a limited number of fans into stadiums has only served to increase costs for Danske Bank Premiership clubs ahead of the start of the Irish League season tonight.

Cliftonville admitted a small number of fans into recent Co Antrim Shield games against Knockbreda and Dundela, with Solitude operating at around 15% of the stadium's capacity.

The north Belfast side have introduced several measures to ensure safety regulations are adhered to, including the installation of sanitisation stations and temperature check controls.

Fans lucky enough to get hold of a ticket must also follow a one-way system within the ground and are only allowed to sit in allocated seats.

However, Cliftonville director Begley says operating at a reduced capacity means more staff are needed to ensure the safety of fewer fans, worsening the financial burden on clubs.

"We now require a lot more stewarding in the ground to ensure social distancing and people sitting in correct seats, something which we didn't have to do before. We have to bring in more staff for fewer fans," he said.

"Only when we get a return to full capacities will things become sustainable. We urgently need government assistance with finance."

Cliftonville kick-off their Irish Premiership campaign against Belfast rivals Glentoran tomorrow afternoon.

Belfast Telegraph