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'I imagine we won't take it up' - Rovers boss Bradley not expecting fans back in Tallaght this season

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Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Bradley doesn't expect to see fans back at Tallaght Stadium for the rest of the season. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Bradley doesn't expect to see fans back at Tallaght Stadium for the rest of the season. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Bradley doesn't expect to see fans back at Tallaght Stadium for the rest of the season. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Shamrock Rovers boss Stephen Bradley says his club are unlikely to admit supporters into games between now and the end of the season even though they would be allowed to welcome 100 fans for their remaining games of the campaign.

But even with a loosening of regulations on crowds attending outdoor sporting events in Ireland now in place, there will definitely be no supporters admitted to the Hoops' glamour tie at home to AC Milan on Thursday night.

New regulations on dealing with Covid-19, announced by the Government today, cleared the way for crowds of up to 100 to attend matches, with that limit upped to 200 in stadiums which have a capacity of over 5,000.

In League of Ireland terms, only two stadiums (Tallaght Stadium and Turner's Cross) have an official capacity of over 5,000 so all clubs. While Cork City could admit up to 200 fans, Shamrock Rovers will be limited to 100 due to additional restrictions placed on Dublin.

Some clubs, such as Galway United, Finn Harps and Shelbourne, had been admitting 50 fans for home games for a spell, when supporters could be included in an overall attendance of 200 people which included players and staff, before new rules introduced last month barred all spectators from attending sports events.

But most League of Ireland clubs opted not to admit any regular fans, with only those having a matchday function at the stadium, or players and media, allowed to attend as clubs felt that selecting 50 people from their hundreds or thousands of members and season ticket holders was too problematic.

And Rovers plan to stick to the policy of non-admittance for fans. "We haven't taken that option before, even when it was 200 we never did it, it was always just ball retrievers and officials," Bradley said today at a media event ahead of the clash with Milan.

"We haven't done it. How do you pick the 200? It's really difficult, so I can't imagine us using it again. If it goes above 500, maybe that's something you could work with, with your members and season ticket holders. I imagine we won't take it up before the end of the season."

The new rules allowing 100 or 200 fans, depending on stadium capacity, come into effect from tonight but there will be no fans admitted to Rovers' Europa League tie at home to AC Milan on Thursday night as UEFA have ordered that all games in the qualifying rounds of the European competitions are to be played behind closed doors until further notice.

Online Editors