Consett issue update over efforts to get fans into FA Vase final at Wembley

Consett AFC today issued an update regarding efforts to try to allow fans to attend our FA Vase final at Wembley vs Hebburn Town.

The game – held over from 2019-20 due to the pandemic – is on Monday, May 3, behind closed doors at Wembley – a stadium with an official capacity of 90,000.

Consett AFC Chairman Frank Bell said: “During the last year the club has been working hard behind the scenes with The FA, the Government, MPs, influential individuals and professional bodies, with the target to get the 2019-20 FA Vase final played at Wembley, in a safe environment with spectators in attendance, and our focus has not changed.

consett afc chairman frank bell
Consett AFC Chairman Frank Bell says the club is willing to play the 2019-20 FA Vase final on any date when fans can attend.

“Not a day has passed in recent weeks and months without the club continuing in its efforts to get our fans in to Wembley.

“We are mindful of the suffering and challenges that the pandemic has created for so many, and clearly understand the importance of these.

“However, one of the many challenges has been the mental wellbeing of so many, and an event such as the FA Vase can create a major focus and release for so many at these difficult times. As a club, we will do all that we can to facilitate this.

Alternative dates

“To that end we, the club, have agreed with the FA to any alternative dates that would allow our spectators to attend the FA Vase final at Wembley.

“Our position will not change with this, and we have made it clear that the club will be completely flexible and open to any proposal that will allow spectators in to watch the 2019-20 FA Vase final.

“To be fair to the FA there are many who have been extremely helpful and they have worked very hard to keep this dream alive.

fa vase semi-final winner
It’s been a long waiting game for Consett fans since Calvin Smith’s semi-final winner in September 2020.

“It is also fair, we believe, to say that the club has been completely receptive and flexible throughout, whilst being mindful of what has been going on all around us with the pandemic.

“We have been receptive to alternative dates, and this was raised again in the last two weeks, with the club agreeing to ANY alternative dates that would allow spectators to attend.

“We fully understand that there are many more parties involved in these decisions, such as The FA, the Government, FIFA, UEFA, sponsors and broadcasters.

Let down by the authorities

“However, in the last week it has been announced that the FA Cup semi-finals, taking place on the 17th and 18th April at Wembley, will be considered as a pilot event to allow up to 4,000 spectators in.

“On Sunday 25 April up to 8,000 spectators are being allowed to attend to watch the Carabao Cup final, again at Wembley.

“The FA Cup final, which takes place after our scheduled FA Vase final, will have up to 20,000 spectators in to watch that event.

consett fans
The club feels that Consett AFC fans have been let down by the authorities.

“Whilst this is clearly wonderful news for so many, we as a club feel extremely let down by the authorities for not even considering our final for a further development in the pilot events to facilitate spectators back in to watch football.

“We have written to all the authorities involved, including The FA, Government and our MPs, asking them to reconsider our event taking place on 3rd May as a pilot event with 12-15,000 spectators in attendance.

“The DCMS has the ability to allocate this event as a test event for spectators and we will continue to press them to consider this. 

“As a club we would be negligent to not express our disappointment at the way our fans are being treated in comparison to those of the other clubs that are involved in these pilot events at Wembley.

Treat our fans as equals

“We have already been advised by The FA that the FA Vase final and FA Trophy final will be treated as an elite event, including testing and other protocols etc, and we would like our spectators to be treated as equals too.

“Our spectators are no different to those of Manchester City and Tottenham, and it is wrong that they are being treated as such.

“We will continue our considerable efforts to get fairness for our fans and we would like to thank our fellow Northern League club Hebburn Town, who have worked closely with us during the last year.

Consett vs Hebburn Town promises to be a mouth-watering FA Vase final – but the clubs feel fans should be present.

“We would also like to thank FA Trophy finalists Harrogate Town and Concord Rangers, who have also worked hard to facilitate spectators.

“As a club we remain completely neutral with regard to politics, but would be negligent not to mention the considerable efforts of our local MP Richard Holden, who has worked extremely hard with other MPs to seek fairness for their local fans.

“Finally, I would like to thank our spectators for their patience throughout this, and I can promise you that we will not rest in our endeavours to get fairness for our fans.

“In the interim please stay safe and we look forward to hopefully seeing you all back at football soon.”

Gary Welford