Football supporters are set to make their long-awaited return to grounds around the country next week, though only half of the Premier League will be permitted following confirmation of the details surrounding the three-tier restrictions in England.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced this week that fans could finally make their long-awaited return to football stadia following the end of national restrictions on December 2nd.
Fans have been absent since the onset of the pandemic in March, with Mr Johnson’s announcement providing a much needed shot in the arm for clubs, particularly in the lower reaches of the footballing pyramid.
However, fans will only be allowed back in very low numbers, with 4,000 fans being allowed back into areas placed under Tier 1 restrictions, 2,000 in Tier 2, while games in Tier 3 areas must still be played behind closed doors.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced the full extent of the Tier system in England in a message to parliament this morning, with large swathes of northern England and the Midlands placed into the most restrictive Tier 3 category.
Hancock announced that the Tiers would be ‘regularly’ reviewed, though as it stands, just half of the 20 Premier League clubs will be allowed to welcome fans into their home stadia next week, all with a maximum capacity of just 2,000 supporters.
The 10 clubs are:
- Crystal Palace
- Tottenham Hotspur
- West Ham
While the return of fans will be a welcome boost on the road back to normality, Brighton chief exec Paul Barber admitted earlier this week that a return of supporters could actually see Premier League clubs lose even more money than playing behind closed doors, the Seagull’s breakeven number said to be 8,000 supporters.
The first round of league games with supporters in attendance is set to be on the weekend of December 5th, which are as follows:
Brighton v Southampton
Chelsea v Leeds
Liverpool v Wolves
West Ham v Manchester United
Tottenham v Arsenal
Meanwhile, Arsenal are set to be able to welcome supporters to their Europa League game against Rapid Wein on December 3rd.