- Burnley FC chief executive Neil Hart speaks exclusively to Burnley.co.uk
- Says the football club has a duty to supporters and stakeholders to start playing football again – but only if and when it’s safe to do so
- “Sean Dyche and players are positive and hungry to train and play
“It would be catastrophic not to get the football season back up and running.” That’s according to Neil Hart, chief executive officer at Burnley FC, in an interview with Burnley.co.uk.
His comments come after the club revealed that the players recommenced training this week, but under strict hygiene and social distancing guidelines. So far, they have been training in small pods of five, adhering to the government and Premier League guidelines. Hart stressed the “hugely sterile” conditions in which the players are training and confirmed “while we cannot eliminate the risk entirely, we can reduce it significantly by implementing significant hygiene and medical procedures”.
However, he hopes that, if given the green light from both the government and Premier League, full contact training could resume “in the next couple of weeks”.
“Sean Dyche and players are positive and hungry to train and play. We have a can-do attitude, but it’s a complex scenario that we face. We have a duty to supporters and stakeholders to start playing football again. Throughout this situation, we have been very committed to restarting training and fixtures if and when it is safe to do so,” Hart explained.
There have also been positive discussions with fans regarding refunds for those games that will be played behind closed doors. All those with tickets for the remaining four home Premier League fixtures of 2019/20 and the away game at Manchester City – which was scheduled for March – can receive a full refund. Fans will be given the option to donate their refund to Burnley FC Youth Development should they wish to.
The home fixtures are against Watford, Sheffield United, Wolves and Brighton. Season ticket holders will receive an email outlining their options by Friday May 29th, with refunds processed by Friday June 26th.
Hart went on to provide an update on assistant manager Ian Woan, who recently tested positive for COVID-19, despite showing no symptoms.
“We’ve been transparent about Ian testing positive, with his consent, and he remains safe and well at home. He will be tested again next week. Ian is a critical part of the coaching team and staff, players and supporters are eager to see him back at training once we know it’s safe for him to return.”
At Burnley.co.uk, we are proud that the club remain eager to deliver for all of their supporters and stakeholders and know that once it is safe to reopen Turf Moor to the public, the atmosphere will live up to its usual electric standards – if not more so, as a result of the current situation.
A huge thanks to Neil for taking time out of his busy schedule to speak to us.