England to unlock gates for limited fan return from December 2

November 24 – Up to 4,000 spectators will be allowed to attend outdoor ‘elite’ sport, including Premier League football, in the lowest-risk Covid areas of England when a month-long national lockdown is lifted on December 2.

Half that number can attend sporting events in government-banded tier two areas but none will be able to in tier three.

English Premier League matches have been played behind closed doors for the entire season so far. Organised grassroots sport like non-league football, banned since lockdown began, will resume from December 2.

The Premier League welcomed the limited move but said it hoped for larger attendances.

“Our ambition remains to work with Government to increase attendance to more substantial levels. Until this can be done, many fans will be unable to attend games and our clubs will continue to operate matches at a financial loss,” it said.

The Football League (EFL), which organises football in the Championship and lower two divisions and has also been without fans, also welcomed the move.

“Whilst today’s news is subject to regional restrictions, it is an important step in achieving a return to normal, alongside it being crucial to addressing the significant revenue gap left by a lack of spectators and other revenue streams as a result of the pandemic,” a statement said.

Prior to the current lockdown, most of the country was in ‘tier two’. But three of the biggest Premier League clubs – Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City – are in the highest ‘tier three’ areas, so it remains to be seen whether they will be allowed to admit fans after December 2.

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