With the the new season up and running, the Owls are issuing this comprehensive update on a range of relevant subjects as we continue to navigate these unprecedented times.
Given the moving feast of COVID-19 ramifications and this week’s announcement concerning social gatherings, some queries cannot be answered definitively but this FAQ aims to cover as many issues as possible for what remains a fast-moving environment.
Sheffield Wednesday are committed to welcoming supporters back to Hillsborough at the earliest opportunity and are engaged in dialogue with the relevant local and national authorities on a daily basis. Whilst we aim to make this communication as informative as we can, please be aware that much of the criteria is outside of our control.
When will supporters be readmitted to games and will capacities be reduced?
This is currently under review following this week’s revised Government guidance on social gatherings. The initial target was 3 October following ‘test pilot’ games in the sporting arena but it remains to be seen if this will be achieved.
What is certain is that when we are permitted to readmit spectators to Hillsborough, the capacity for the start of the phased return will be significantly reduced to ensure social distancing of at least one metre is maintained and associated safety measures are approved. Exact numbers will be determined following Government guidance and agreement with the relevant authorities.
The club can confirm admittance will be strictly limited in the first instance due to the expected demand outstripping availability. Priority will be given to 10-Year Season Ticket holders, Club 1867 Members, Multi-Year Season Ticket holders with one or more year remaining and 2020/21 Season Ticket holders.
We recognise this will inevitably lead to disappointment for some supporters but having explored every avenue, we believe the strategy of prioritising Season Ticket holders is the fairest solution.
So how will access work?
A ballot scheme will be established for 2020/21 Season Ticket holders to register their interest in attending each game of the phased return on a match by match basis. Supporters will be invited to enter each ballot for the number of seats required within your social bubble who must all be 2020/21 Season Ticket holders. Those who are successful will receive email confirmation before proceeding to select seats online for your bubble.
What if I miss out in the ballot?
The club will record the attendance of every Season Ticket holder and at the end of the campaign calculate an outstanding balance which will be credited to your ticket account and redeemed against future Season Tickets or home match tickets.
For Season Ticket holders over 18 unsuccessful with the ballot, there will be a further event on our ticketing website within the week of the respective home fixture to apply for an iFollow match pass. Season Ticket holders can select the live stream option for £10 per fixture, which will be deducted from your outstanding balance at the end of the season. This option will also be available for select midweek away fixtures.
A £455 Season Ticket for 23 games on the Kop equates to £19.78 per match. You are successful in attending 13 games via the ballot and have requested an iFollow code for the remaining 10 games at £10 each. The outstanding balance would be calculated as follows:
Total price paid = £455
Value of 13 games at Hillsborough = £257.14
Value of 10 iFollow fixtures = £100
Total value used = £357.14
Total amount to be credited to ticketing account = £97.86
As the Watford home game on Saturday 19 September is likely to be behind closed doors an event will be set up on our ticketing website for those that wish to have an iFollow code issued as part of your Season Ticket as highlighted above. The club will announce when you can apply for the code next week.
Where are we with social bubbles?
We recently asked supporters to offer an indication of their social bubbles to help with our phased return planning process. In order for the club to achieve the maximum number of available seats we have divided the stadium into varying bubble mixes based on this feedback. Supporters should therefore note you will not be able to sit in your current seats or necessarily the same stand.
Each stand will have the following social bubble mixes available:
Kop – 1s and 3s in the middle upper section and 2s and 4s in the lower
North – 2s and 4s
South/Grandstand – 2s and 4s
West Stand upper and lower – 1s and 2s
How can I confirm my social bubble?
We will be asking 2020/21 Season Ticket holders to commit to your bubbles ahead of the phased return which will not be able to be amended once submitted. This will be conducted via the club’s ticketing website, using a similar process as per the rebate options in June.
Please note that this process must be undertaken online. The Ticket Office will be open for queries but the online system only will determine both social bubbles and the final allocation of tickets.
Supporters are reminded you can only be included in one social bubble.
Please ensure that when establishing bubbles, one person is always responsible for the application process and then choosing of seats if successful in the ballot. Whoever applies for the individual ballots will be the only person who can complete the transaction to select the seats for everyone within the bubble.
What are the provisions for disabled supporters?
Ambulant disabled supporters should apply for their bubbles as highlighted above and also include their carer if applicable.
Wheelchair bays will also be limited and those who have already purchased bays will be contacted directly to enquire if you wish to enter the ballots and therefore will not be required to enter bubble information or apply for the ballot online.
There will be no access to the Grandstand via the lifts and entry to the South Stand via reception will not be permitted.
Will away fans be permitted?
Whilst we are operating at reduced capacity, no away supporters will be permitted entry. This allows us to house home fans in the West Stand upper and lower, thus maximising access for Sheffield Wednesday supporters.
What if I am not comfortable in coming back just yet?
We appreciate that some supporters will not feel comfortable in attending games when we can readmit fans or may have medical conditions that prevent them from doing so. If this affects you, please do not submit your name to a social bubble register or apply for any ballots and the unused credit can be used for your Season Ticket next year. You can request an iFollow code for any behind closed doors/restricted capacity fixture, the cost of which will be deducted from your outstanding balance at the end of the season.
What if I haven’t renewed or purchased a 2020/21 Season Ticket?
Unfortunately, due to the number of Season Tickets sold and the strict regulations that will be in place regarding socially distanced stadiums, we are unable to take any further applications. As the games go by following a safe phased return, we would be hopeful the capacity can be increased and once all 2020/21 Season Ticket holders have been facilitated, we will move to the next phase whereby more supporters will be able to attend.
Can I watch behind closed doors/phased return games on iFollow?
Following an agreement between the EFL and Sky Sports, clubs will be provided with iFollow codes for each home fixture and select midweek away fixtures for Season Ticket holders to redeem against any credit balance at the end of the season.
This is a change from the resumption of last season when clubs were given codes for all home and away games.
Should any 2020/21 Season Ticket holders miss out in the ballot and wish to watch the game via iFollow, we will issue the codes upon receipt from the EFL on a match by match basis to those supporters who opt to receive a streaming pass and we advise supporters to ensure email addresses are up to date on your ticketing account.
The £10 iFollow fee per game will be deducted from any outstanding credit balance attached to your Season Ticket.
2020/21 Season Ticket holders will have the opportunity to request a pass for the Watford game (19 September) next week.
Supporters who do not have a 2020/21 Season Ticket can purchase every home or away fixture for £10 per game via iFollow, save those games selected for live broadcast by Sky Sports.
What are my responsibilities?
When games are played in front of a reduced capacity, all supporters must be aware there will be many changes to the usual matchday experience. Conduct and compliance will be paramount in ensuring the club can demonstrate the ability to host a completely safe match environment at Hillsborough to help us achieve higher capacity in the future.
Anyone successful with the ballot will be asked to read the revised terms and conditions and confirm agreement to all criteria before confirming your booking. Any supporter in breach of the ground regulations will risk the right to attend future games.
It is extremely unlikely that food and drink kiosks will open on matchday given the configuration of the concourses and the risk of breaching social distancing measures.
When will I see the regulations in full?
A comprehensive guide will be issued ahead of our first home fixture with limited fans outlining the new procedures at Hillsborough. This will cover entry and exit points, mandatory presentation of ID, queuing, leaving the stadium, social distancing, face coverings and more to ensure as much information as possible is communicated and digested.
What happens next?
Supporters do not need to take any action right now. As we have seen only this week, regulations can change on an almost everyday basis but once we receive clearance to begin a phased return of fans it is likely the turnaround time will be brief. Therefore when we announce the request for 2020/21 Season Ticket holders to submit your respective bubbles please do so as soon as possible and visit www.swfc.co.uk regularly for further information.
…can we take this opportunity to issue a huge vote of thanks to all our supporters for your patience and understanding. This is an exceptionally challenging time for everyone connected with our club and your cooperation on all levels is very much appreciated.