English Park staff abused over Covid restrictions

Some Mainland Football staff were abused by fans who were barred from entering English Park to...
Some Mainland Football staff were abused by fans who were barred from entering English Park to watch their team play due to Covid-19 restrictions. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Mainland Football has pleaded with supporters to respect Covid-19 restrictions after staff at English Park were abused by fans barred from entering the venue.

The organisation issued the request via social media after a small number of parents and supporters took umbrage at not being able to watch games from the stand or sidelines.

"The staff at Mainland Football do not deserve the abuse they have been receiving from a small number of parents and supporters.

"Please show some respect. It’s hugely disappointing given the efforts staff have made to ensure football can be played this year,” the Facebook post read.

Mainland Football chief executive Julian Bowden reinforced that message when justifying why supporters were barred despite level two restrictions allowing crowds of up to 100.

Julian Bowden. Photo: Mainland Football
Julian Bowden. Photo: Mainland Football
“English Park is an interesting facility. We have four changing rooms and we often have back-to-back games here. Once you’ve got four teams in there with 20 people each that’s about 80 so letting supporters in is highly challenging,” Bowden said.

“We made a call quite early on that we would continue to run games here but people would need to stay outside the perimeter of the ground.

“That was communicated extensively through the clubs and social media but you still get people that don’t pick that up, and turn up and they’re disappointed.

“I get they’re disappointed but I think people need to be reasonable. Screaming at staff doesn’t do a whole lot for me.

“Our whole commitment has been to get football back up and running. It’s alright to be disappointed but at least their kids or partners or friends are able to play sport and they can watch from behind the fence.”

The Government is scheduled to review its Covid-19 alert levels before Sunday, though Bowden was not optimistic about a downgrade.

“I’m not sure how much hope I hold out for that based on what’s happening in Auckland,” he said.







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