How Premier League fans will return to stadiums

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How Premier League fans will return to stadiums

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Premier League fans in stadium could be a thing again very soon, as the UK will leave a national lockdown and be placed into tiered regions based on the spread of COVID-19 in that area.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

The return of fans into stadiums across England has been long-awaited, as crowds have not been present in the top four divisions consistently since the COVID-19 pandemic suspended play in March.

A few test events and a few weeks of 1,000 fans in stadiums in the lower leagues did occur in late summer, but that was short-lived as cases rose in the UK and another lockdown arrived.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed that when the second national lockdown ends in the UK on December 2, fans will be allowed to return to elite sporting events indoors and outdoors for the first time since March, as long as the new plan is voted in my government which is expected to happen.

“I can confirm that the national restrictions will end on December 2 and they will not be renewed. Collective worship, weddings and outdoor sports can resume and shops, personal care and the wider leisure sector can reopen,” Johnson said. “In Tiers 1 and 2, spectator sports will be free to resume inside and outside with capacity limits and social distancing. Later this week, we will announce which areas will fall into which tier – I hope on Thursday – based on analysis of cases in all age groups and the rate of which cases are rising or falling.”

How can fans return to Premier League games? When will it happen? How many fans can return? Will all 20 Premier League clubs have fans in their stadiums?

Here we explain it all.

How many fans can return to Premier League stadiums?

There will be a maximum of 4,000 fans allowed into the stadium if it is located in a tier 1 region. If the stadium is located in a tier 2 region a maximum of 2,000 fans will be allowed entry and in tier 3 no fans will be allowed entry. The tiered regions will be announced in the UK on Thursday.

Why only 4,000 fans maximum?

Even though most venues in the Premier League can hold tens of thousands of fans, this is all about stopping a huge influx of people traveling to games on public transport and descending on one area. This change in policy from the UK government seems to mostly benefit clubs in League One and League Two, as their finances rely heavily on fans being allowed in. In tier 1 clubs can have 4,000 fans or half of their maximum capacity, depending on which is fewer. Tier 2 will see 2,000 fans or half of their maximum capacity, depending on which is fewer. Tier 3 will have no fans.

When will fans return?

From Wednesday, December 2 fans will be able to attend games in the Premier League, Championship, League One, League Two, National League, National League South, National League North and all other semi-professional leagues below them.

What about European competition?

UEFA will allow fans to attend games based on what is allowed in the country where the game is being played. A cap of a maximum of 30 percent of the usual capacity is placed on all games in the UEFA Europa League and UEFA Champions League.

Will all 20 Premier League teams be allowed to have fans in stadiums?

That depends on which tier they are placed in. Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield and Leeds were all previously placed in tier 3 before the national lockdown, while London, Newcastle, Wolverhampton and Birmingham were also in tier 2 at one point with Leicester also placed under its own restrictions.

If those tiers remain in place only Brighton, Southampton and Leicester would be able to host 4,000 fans in their stadiums. Until the UK government announces which regions will be in which tier, we don’t know.

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