Soccer fans in non-Tier 3 areas in the UK will be allowed to return to stadiums with the cap set at 2,000 spectators per event.
Premier League to Allow Local Fans to Return
Empty stadiums and missing gate receipts will no longer be the case, as the English Premier League will once again allow fans to attend live events, following an announcement by the government regarding new anti-pandemic measures on Thursday.
Because of the individualized approach to reopening, some clubs will still remain in regions that are heavily impacted by covid-19 and won’t be allowed to restart operations with a live audience present. This includes Manchester United and City.
Yet, sports won’t see things return back to normal just yet. Even stadiums that reopen will only be able to host home fans and at vastly reduced capacity. Up to 2,000 spectators will be allowed to attend games at Everton and Liverpool starting Wednesday, for example.
Premier League Clubs to Host Matches
Other clubs that will be able to host 2,000 spectators at a time include Brighton and Southampton, Arsenal, Chelsea, Fulham, West Ham, Tottenham and Crystal Palace. Effectively, Arsenal will be able to host the home challenge against Rapid Vienna, part of the Europa League, at the team’s Emirates Stadium on Thursday, December 3.
Meanwhile, Manchester United is going to play a game on December 2, hosting Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), and coinciding with the same day the lockdown in the United Kingdom ends. Other soccer derbies will be hosted by West Ham.
Conversely, many other clubs will have to comply with stricter measures and no live audiences, because they remain in the so-called Tier 3 areas, designated as too dangerous to host live spectators right now. They include Aston Villa, Burnley, Leicester, Leeds, Newcastle, West Bromwich and Wolverhampton.
Lack of Fans Impacting Results
Some have been sceptical of the measures, with Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa arguing that the presence of fans has a direct impact on a team’s performance. Not allowing fans to travel would mean that one team will always have a disadvantage, Bielsa argues. A similar sentiment has been expressed on several other occasions.
As per the new measures, the United Kingdom is allowing up to 4,000 spectators to attend elite sports events. With fans gone, sports clubs have been struggling financially. Now, the government wants to take a tougher stance on sports betting sponsorships which have been a huge part of the funding model for many clubs.