King's Lynn Stars co-promoter says speedway meetings behind closed doors post-coronavirus is a non-starter
Staging speedway meetings behind closed doors post-coronavirus is a non-starter, says King’s Lynn Stars co-promoter Dale Allitt.
Discussions among English top-flight football chiefs have raised the option of closed neutral venues, but what is feasible at cash-rich sports like football does not apply to Premiership speedway, former Lynn team manager Allitt believes.
A video conference on Friday (May 1) told Premier League clubs that up to ten neutral stadiums may be needed to complete the 2019/2020 campaign behind closed doors once the worse of the Covid-19 pandemic is over.
Around 40,000 tests would be needed for players and staff, the conference added. Some 92 games are remaining and soccer stars are asked to resume full training at their Premier League clubs on May 18 for a restart on June 8.
Allitt commented: ”Speedway is a bit different from many sports in the fact that being a minority sport we are very reliant on gate receipts rather than anything else, so running behind closed doors isn’t really a great option for us because you have still got to pay the riders.
“Something like 90 per cent of our income comes through the gate. Unfortunately I don’t think that’s an option for speedway but on the other hand we have been talking with the government and sports ministers to see where we stand.
“The most important thing is people’s health whether that is sponsors, supporters or riders; everyone associated with the sport. That’s the main thing.”
He echoed statements from the board of directors at British Speedway Promoters Ltd that the shale sport will not resume until the middle of next month, while there are reports that a few overseas leagues are making tentative steps towards racing in empty stadiums.
Allitt said: “Realistically the vulnerable need to self-isolate until mid-June, so I can’t see anything happening before then. A few other countries have said that a few sporting events may start on the first of September: Belgium, France and the Netherlands I think have said that.”
The Minors & Brady Stars official added that British promotions continue to work behind the scenes during the lockdown: “As a sport we’re trying to do as much as possible so when the green light does come, we have quite a lot of plans - depending on when that is - to get back racing,” he said.
“Us promoters are in contact every day.”