Worksop man's petition to allow football fans to attend matches during pandemic up for top award
A Worksop man has been nominated for a national award after his petition calling for football fans to be let back into stadiums during the coronavirus pandemic surpassed 200,500 signatures.
Ashley Greenwood is up for the first ever Petition Campaign of the Year Award after the petition asking that football fans be allowed to attend matches at all levels garnered support worldwide, including from the English Football League and as far as France and Russia.
In the debate held on the petition, members across the House of Commons expressed support for Ashley’s campaign, raising concerns about the impact of Covid-19 on the viability of smaller clubs and calling for fans to be allowed to attend matches with safety procedures in place.
Ashley was inspired to launch the petition after setting up his own football team, Sheffield City FC, which consists of junior and adult teams.
He said had received ‘some backlash’ for creating it but added that he hoped he had ‘put Worksop on the map, for the right reasons’.
He added: “I set up the petition not sure if anything would come of it, then from lunchtime until 9pm it passed something like 100,000 signatures.
"I did get some negative comments. Some people said I was stupid and that health should come first.
"I respect that but while I was calling for stadiums to reopen, I didn’t mean at full capacity. It’s about keeping it all up and running, somehow.
"The slogan for the 2021 Olympics was ‘inspire a generation’. How are we supposed to do that when young people can’t watch their heroes play live?
"At this rate, we’re going to lose a whole generation of people interested in football.”
Limited numbers of football fans were allowed to attend EFL matches once the November lockdown was lifted.
Following concerns about smaller clubs, the Government announced £10million of emergency funding for around 850 lower-league clubs in January.
"For now everything’s up in the air,” said Ashley. “But I do feel the petition achieved some good.”
The award has been launched under the annual Your UK Parliament Awards, which recognises individuals who have taken democratic action on the issues they care about.
MPs are expected to announce the winner later this month.