Building work is still continuing at the site of the LNER Community Stadium at Monks Cross. It seems that it will be some time before all the buildings can be brought into use.
The main area of concern remains the stadium itself. The authorities failed to stage the required test events before the lockdown led to a suspension of most work.
The test events – of varying capacities – are a prerequisite for the issue of a safety certificate. Without a certificate the stadium can’t be commissioned.
It is something of a paradox that – because of social distancing regulations – initially only a proportion of the capacity would be used. The (National League) football season is due to start at the beginning of October. That is only seven weeks away. Players will recommence training shortly and it is customary to stage friendly matches in the immediate run up to start of a season.
There is little clarify from the government at this stage about how social distancing might limit crowd numbers.
Some sports commentators have said that as few as 1 in 5 seats might be occupied.
Therein may be the rub for York City.
Social distancing is potentially much easier in an all seater stadium like the one at Monk Cross. If 20% of its 8512 seats were occupied then this would be enough to accommodate all season ticket holders plus a few more.
York City’s average attendance, during the last fully completed season (2018/19), was 2443.
In the same year the York Knights Rugby Team attracted 2125.
If one in three seats could be occupied (essentially respecting a 1 metre social distancing guideline) the all regular supporters could be accommodated.
Some other teams in the National League North have announced plans to ground share at stadiums with a larger capacity to accommodate all who wish to attend.
Hopefully the Council and its partners have plans in place to quickly finish off the remaining building work and find a way to open the stadium albeit possibly with a reduced capacity.