The moment we’ve all been waiting for will hopefully become a reality on May 18 when we are allowed to stage a test event and fill our new stadium up to maximum allowable 25 per cent capacity. Which means circa 2,000 privileged fans will be able to experience our new home for the first time!
The event itself will be a u23 match and we will release details of the opposition as soon as we have confirmed them. This is our chance to prove we can successfully stage a socially-distanced event safely – and your help in making that happen is essential.
Current government advice allows for limited capacity crowds to attend sporting events from the 17th May, however we’ve all seen these deadlines shift and move over the past year, so there is of course every chance this could be delayed. We have been told that the 17th May restriction lifting will only be fully confirmed 7 days prior, so absolute confirmation will need to wait until then. However, we need to prepare for a good outcome and so we would now like to start the process of seat reservations for the test event.
The tickets for these events are free and simply require reserving. Fans can start reserving seats from this Wednesday (March 31) but tickets will ONLY be available in the following strict Priority Group order:
1…Fans that purchased a Debenture plus a non-refundable season ticket for this season;
2…Fans that purchased a Non-refundable season ticket for this season;
3…Fans that purchased a Debenture-only.
We’ve no doubt demand is going to be high but we hope to be able accommodate most of the fans from the first 2 priority groups. Back in February we did a survey among these priority groups which indicated that there were circa 10% of fans that wouldn’t feel comfortable attending under the current pandemic circumstances. We therefore will have to introduce a first come first served rule per priority groups.
Priority group 1 - our debenture plus non-refundable season ticket holders - will be first in line. They will be granted a period of exclusivity from Wednesday 31st to make their reservations.
Then fans in Priority Group 2 (as shown above) can reserve from Monday, April 12th. Finally, if there are any seats still available, debenture-only holders will get their chance from Thursday 22nd April, provided we haven’t already reached capacity by then.
Please note: For this test event, you will not be able to sit in your specific debenture or ST seat. In order to optimise the number of people we can get into the stadium, we will use software that will allocate people in order to optimise the capacity.
Before you start reserving, though, there are some rules you’ll need to understand first:
1…We are bound by lockdown and social distancing rules as per the limited capacity crowd protocols, so fans can only book for other fans from the same household – and the same Priority Group. For example, debenture plus non-refundable season ticket holders can only book on behalf of someone with exactly the same package.
If other members of a household are in different Priority Group, then they will have to wait until that window opens and will unfortunately not be able to sit with members of their household that are in other priority groups
2...While fans can pick the number of seats they want, this will be limited to a maximum of four – and you will NOT be able to choose which seats you have. This will be determined by a special social-distancing algorithm, created by our online-ticketing platform SecuTix, which creates bubbles automatically and therefore keeps fans socially distanced within the stadium, whilst optimising the capacity available.
3…Fans will be able to assign tickets to relevant people within their social bubble but you must make sure their names are added to your friends/family connection on your account.
4…Fans will also be required to undertake a health questionnaire up to 7 days prior to attending and anyone displaying symptoms will not be allowed to enter the stadium on the day.
What’s next? Well, for the time being, you don’t have to do anything - all debenture plus non-refundable season ticket holders who have an email address will be emailed when the reservation window opens for them on Wednesday 31 March. We will also publish an article on the official website and social media to let everyone know that the booking window is now open.
Fans who bought hospitality debentures will be contacted by us directly, they will not have to book online.
We will ask anyone who wants to book a wheelchair seat or seating with a companion seat to email our ticket office with their requirements. These seats will not be bookable online.
We will also be updating you shortly with a step-by-step guide to explain precisely how the reservation process will work and what you will need to do.
In the meantime, just start dreaming again. Football is coming home and you can be there to witness it!