British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed that football fans will be able to return to the games from next week. Up to 10,000 home fans can watch their teams.
Johnson confirmed the move in a press conference on Monday afternoon.
In his opening address, which set out the details of further easing lockdown restrictions across England, the Prime Minister confirmed that his government would “unlock the hubs of our sports stadiums with capacity restrictions”.
This means that starting next Monday May 17th, large outdoor seating stadiums can accommodate up to 10,000 attendees, while smaller venues must be capped at 4,000 or 50%, whichever is the lowest.
Today we announced the biggest single step on our roadmap that will allow us to do many of the things we have longed for. Let’s protect these gains by continuing to use caution and common sense.
– Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) May 10, 2021
The UK government will allow larger crowds from June 21st, with the Euro 2020 tournament on the horizon.
Last month, an FA Cup semi-final between Leicester and Southampton marked the UK’s first outdoor sporting event since the pandemic to welcome players back. Access was only granted to residents of the Wembley area and key workers.
The following weekend, 2,000 fans who bought tickets enjoyed the Carabao Cup final, played by Manchester City and Tottenham. The biggest test yet will be when Chelsea face Leicester in the FA Cup on Saturday.
BREAKING: The FA Cup final between Chelsea and Leicester City could take in 21,000 fans on May 15th. 🙏 pic.twitter.com/WLAQzwdkbA
– Footy Accumulators (@FootyAccums) April 26, 2021
In comments made last week, Premier League boss Richard Masters confirmed that only home fans can play the games for the remainder of the 2020/2021 season but said it will still be “brilliant to see the fans again” .
“They have been very much missed and the Premier League was not the same without them. Your presence will ensure a fantastic final until the end of our season,” added Masters.
“Although there will be few home fans for our games next week, it is an important step in our return to normal,” he concluded.
All Premier League teams will benefit from this move as they have a home game and an away game each in the last two rounds of the season.
Elsewhere, the British government is pushing for the Champions League final to also take place at Wembley.
As an all-English affair with Manchester City facing Chelsea, a special exception would be made to allow 25,000 fans in, although Lisbon as an alternative venue to Istanbul offers tough competition with Turkey on the UK’s red list.
“It would be great to host [the final] here if we can, “said Johnson over the weekend, adding,” with two English teams in the final it would be a great shame if the fans couldn’t take part “.
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