'Ludicrous' that fans are still waiting to return, argues Batley Bulldogs head coach Craig Lingard
BATLEY BULLDOGS head coach Craig Lingard believes that fans should be allowed into sporting events ahead of schedule.
In line with the Government's road-map out of lockdown, supporters will be allowed to return to stadia in limited capacity from May 17.
However, Lingard feels it is "ludicrous" to see beer gardens and retail spaces open while sports clubs are forced to play behind closed doors.
Rugby league fans have been shut out for over a year and Lingard hopes there is no delay in supporters being allowed to return.
"I think it is a little bit daft at the minute that it is not happening," he said.
"We could open up the back of our ground, as long as it is cordoned off, because it is classed as a beer garden but you can't have people sat in a stand watching a game.
"It is a little bit ludicrous at the moment that some things are open and some things are not.
"You can control people going into a beer garden or going into Primark but not coming into a stadium.
"I just hope we can get people back into the ground and give them back some sort of normality.
"Let's hope we do get crowds back in the next month and help clubs get some money back in their coffers.
"Live sport has been missed over the last 12 months."
Batley played their first competitive home fixture without fans last weekend as they secured an emphatic 48-10 victory over Oldham.
One of their first games back in front of supporters will be the Heavy Woollen Derby at Dewsbury Rams on May 23.
"It has been a long time since we played a competitive game at home, it is nice to get back to some familiarity," added Lingard.
"The weather was great and the pitch was in a fantastic condition. I think our team this year will thrive in those warm conditions."