The UK government has confirmed which tier of restrictions each of England’s cities and counties will fall into.
And that means that some fans will be allowed back into live sporting events in areas designated as tier two and three – with up to 2,000 spectators allowed through the turnstiles.
As far as Premier League football is concerned, that means that some clubs will be able to welcome a small smattering of fans back onto the terraces, but others will remain behind closed doors – sparking an argument that the new arrangement is unfair to those unable to enjoy home advantage.
The likes of Liverpool – downgraded to tier two after a mass testing programme, Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal will all be cheered on by up to 2,000 fans at their home games, with London and the south coast clubs falling in the ‘medium’ category.
On the other hand, tier three areas remain under the tightest of restrictions, and that means that home games involving clubs from Yorkshire and Lancashire (Manchester City and United, Leeds, Burnley, Sheffield United), the north east (Newcastle) and the Midlands (Leicester, Wolves, West Brom and Aston Villa) will continue to be played in a ghost-like atmosphere.
|4000 Fans||2000 Fans||No Fans|
|Crystal Palace||Leicester City|
|Tottenham Hotspur||West Bromwich Albion|
|West Ham United||Wolverhampton Wanderers|
It is believed that that the new rules will be rolled out in time for the weekend of December 5-6, allowing a select band of supporters into Anfield for the first time since Liverpool ended their long Premier League title drought. There will also be fans at the North London derby between Spurs and Arsenal at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and at the mouth-watering clash between Chelsea and Leeds at Stamford Bridge.
It has also been reported that up to 2,000 fans will be allowed into Twickenham for England’s Autumn Nations international on December 6.
Racing Gets a Boost With the Return of Punters
The government’s announcement today has been met with joy by many in racing, with punters now allowed back at trackside at a number of major venues in England.
All racecourses placed in tier two can welcome up to 2,000 punters per meeting where Covid-19 safety protocol can be observed.
That list includes Cheltenham, Aintree, Sandown and Hereford, while Kempton, Haydock Park, Lingfield and Ludlow will be among the first beneficiaries when the national lockdown comes to an end next week.
It means that a handful of spectators will be allowed at Sandown for the Tingle Creek meeting on December 5, while Cheltenham’s International meeting will also be watched live a week later.
Sadly, the likes of Warwick, Leicester Wolverhampton, Southwell and Doncaster have been placed in tier three, and so will continue to host racing behind closed doors for the foreseeable future.
In Wales, a meeting is scheduled for Monday between government officials and racing representatives to discuss the return of crowds, while in Scotland there has not been any announcement that suggests an increase on the maximum attendance of 300 will yet be permitted.
The UK government has confirmed that a review of its tiers will take place on December 16, when areas can move up or down through the tiers depending on the latest caseload statistics.