England “behind closed doors” Nations League matches to have crowd in attendance

England are playing two games behind closed doors – but both will have fans in attendance.

UEFA rules do permit national associations to give out tickets to kids who are 14 and under and between 2,000 and 3,000 are expected at Molineux when England play Italy on June 11. There is still no official confirmation on the figures but the 65,000 capacity Puskas Arena in Budapest could be largely full of school children when Hungary play England on June 4.

The hosts are under a stadium ban as punishment for discriminatory behaviour in the Euros but the ground will not be empty. It will mean that, despite a stadium ban, there will be some noise and atmosphere – especially in Budapest if there are tens of thousands of kids in attendance.

UEFA rules allow for kids to attend, all of the tickets have to be free of charge, UK safeguarding rules mean that one adult for every ten children are allowed and the English FA are giving them to local schools and grassroots clubs. They are keen to avoid any danger of families being able to attend together and turning it into anything but a kids-only free event.

But the sheer logistics of it all and staying within the strict UEFA rules make it virtually impossible for more than 2-3,000 to attend at Molineux.

Gogglebox to review England matches

Channel 4 plan to stamp its own identity on its England coverage starting with Gogglebox.

Ellie Warner

Gogglebox stars could soon be reviewing England action
Channel 4)

The hugely popular reality TV show is set to focus on the England games with its stars watching matches and then having their own unique say on the action. That should be a different take and could be entertaining as Channel 4 prepares to give a different feel after winning the rights to England’s Nations League games (starting next week) and Euro 2024 qualifiers.

Award-winning sports presenter Ade Adepitan is expected to be part of C4’s team while Kate Abdo, who is brilliant on CBS’s Champions League coverage, is tipped to be involved. It is clearly part of Channel 4’s plan to have their own identity and cast list rather than have the same roster of TV people which must leave viewers and radio listeners utterly confused as to what channel they are on.

Hooliganism problem discussed by Premier League

Premier League clubs have held talks to discuss the growing problem of hooliganism.

Manchester City

There has been an increase in pitch invasions recently
Getty Images)

The Football Association, police and EFL have also been involved in the discussions amid growing concerns after pitch invasions, players and managers being attacked. It does leave even experts wondering about how they can address and solve the issues, particularly as many feel it is partly a backlash after Covid lockdowns and growing discontent in society.

Top of the agenda has been more “crowd spotting” to identify the trouble makers within the grounds, the pockets of hooligans in stadiums. Clubs will target long or life banning orders against fans to really clamp down on the issue.

Another issue is the use of cocaine with football intelligence indicating a significant drop in price has made it more prevalent. The Government has made noises about issuing five-year bans but there are already powers in place to issue bans from anything between three and ten years.

Jurgen Klopp attends awards dos despite Champions League final commitments

Jurgen Klopp won both the Premier League Manager of the Year and overall Manager of the Year at the League Managers’ Association awards in London on Tuesday night.

In a European Cup final week and with the media day the following morning, what a terrific effort for Klopp to attend along with his backroom staff and support team. It is what organisations like the LMA have come to respect from Liverpool but is still so classy and respectful.

Steve McClaren’s son also gets new job

Joe McClaren, son of newly-appointed Manchester United coach Steve has been confirmed as football agency New Era’s Head of Football Operations which has raised eyebrows in some quarters as to whether it will open a new path into Old Trafford.

But that seems a bit fanciful especially as Rio Ferdinand is a company ambassador at New Era and a United legend would surely have a better foot in the door when recommending players. Not surprisingly, BT Sport’s excellent pundit Ferdinand is not backwards in coming forwards when promoting New Era clients such as suggesting that United sign Norwich’s Max Aarons this summer.

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