Lincoln City could use a “lottery system” to allocate seats for season ticket holders in a bid to control crowd numbers under coronavirus restrictions.
The team this morning announced a second “renewal window” for season ticket holders from Monday, August 17 at 2pm.
The 2020/21 season is due to start on September 12, 2020, with only 3,000 fans will be allowed into the Sincil Bank LNER stadium, which usually has a capacity of about 10,100 seats.
However, a statement on the club website said: “In partnership with our ticketing partner, Ticketmaster Sport, we are currently in the final design stages of the ballot process. More details will be released in due course.
“However, it is our intention to implement a lottery system to provide the fairest method of allocating season ticket holders into the available seats.
“These ballots will be held on a match-by-match basis.”
In order to ensure fairness, priority in each successive ballot would be given to those who fail to win the previous ones – especially while the stadium operated under a reduced capacity.
Chief Executive Liam Scully told BBC Radio Lincolnshire on Friday morning that the team had to make sure they had a fair and practical offer for all fans while considering the safety and social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We know we’re not going to be able to please everybody but what we just wanted to do is try and deal with this in the fairest way,” he said.
The team will attempt to keep social bubbles such as families together when allocating seating.
He said 4,000 tickets had been sold so far.
However, he hoped the system would evolve as the season progressed, and that stadium capacity would be allowed to increase over time.
However, he did have some concerns over seat spacing with one seat between fans equalling 98cm – 2cm below the government’s one metre rule and far below the original two metre rule.
Lincolnshire County Council’s director of public health Professor Derek Ward told Local Democracy Reporter Daniel Jaines he continued to push the two metre length as a rule of thumb.
However, he said there would be some mitigating factors.
“If people are back to back or side to side, then the risk is obviously lowered, if there are two ways to get in and out and the fans are outside, sitting down, with breezes, plenty of ventilation also significantly reduces the risk.”