Football, rugby, horse racing and elite sports find out if they can allow fans back into arenas


BREAKING NEWS: Arsenal will be allowed 2,000 fans at next week’s Europa League game after London was placed in Tier 2 of regional restrictions… but Old Trafford will remain SHUT for PSG showdown with Manchester placed in Tier 3

  • Matt Hancock revealed today which tier each area of England has been put in 
  • Government’s regional tier system dictates where fans can attend elite events 
  •  In tier one, up to 4,000 fans can attend events and up to 2,000 in tier two
  • Clubs and venues are preparing to welcome fans for first time since March

Arsenal will be among the first  football clubs whose fans will be allowed to return to stadiums for matches next week, but Manchester United will miss out, following the announcement of a new regional tier system today.

Liverpool will also be in the first wave of top tier matches allowed to admit spectators.

Football and other elite sports, including rugby and horse racing, are now scrambling to be ready to welcome spectators, which will be the first time for many since the coronavirus pandemic swept Britain and forced the first national locdown in March.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has revealed in the House of Commons which tier each area of England has been placed in as part of the new regional restrictions to limit the spread of the virus, which come into force on Wednesday December 2.

Elite sport clubs and venues have been waiting to find out if they can allow fans next week

Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed which tier each area of England has been placed in

Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed which tier each area of England has been placed in

The government had already said that elite sports events would be allowed to admit spectators for the first time in more than eight months, if they are in areas where infection rates are low.

Under the rules, which come into force following the end of the latest period of national lockdown, events in tier one areas will be allowed up to 4,000 fans, in tier two it will be up to 2,000, but no supporters will be allowed at events in tier three.

Today’s announcement places Manchester in tier three, which means Manchester United fans will not be allowed to attend their club’s Champions League group match against Paris Saint Germain at Old Trafford on December 2.

The government's regional tier system dictates if sports venues can let specators back in

The government’s regional tier system dictates if sports venues can let specators back in

Where fans will return 

The FIVE Premier League matches that will be allowed to host 2,000 fans on the weekend of December 5 and 6 are:

Tottenham v Arsenal

Liverpool v Wolves

Chelsea v Leeds

West Ham v Man United

Brighton v Southampton

However, since London is in tier two, the rules will allow up to 2,000 Arsenal supporters to attend their Europa League tie against Rapid Vienna at the Emirates on Thursday December 3. Arsenal are expected to provide full details later.

And Liverpool will also be allowed to welcome 2,000 supporters for their game with Wolves on Saturday December 5 after the government listened to the city’s pleas to be placed in tier two.

Other Premier League matches in tier two areas during that weekend, which will be allowed to have 2,000 fans in the stadium, include, West Ham-Manchester United, Tottenham-Arsenal, Brighton-Southampton and Chelsea-Leeds, 

However, Manchester-City-Fulham, Burnley-Everton, Aston Villa-Newcastle, West Brom-Crystal Palace and Sheffield-United-Leicester will not be allowed to open the turnstiles.

There are no professional football clubs in any areas placed in tier one, which includes, Cornwall, Scilly Isles and the Isle of Wight. 

There is an extensive EFL programme of fixtures on Wednesday, but given many areas have been designated by government as tier three, many will still not be allowed fans.

Fans have been desperate to return to matches in the Premier League and EFL

Fans have been desperate to return to matches in the Premier League and EFL

In addition, racing is scheduled to take place on Wednesday at Haydock Park on Merseyside, Kempton Park and Lingfield in Surrey, and Ludlow in Shropshire.

On Thursday, the programme includes, meets at Chelmsford in Essex, Leicester and Market Rasen in Lincolnshire.

In rugby union, Bristol are due to host Northampton Saints at Ashton Gate on Friday December 4 and the finals of the Autumn Nations Cup are taking place over the weekend, with England set to play at Twickenham on Sunday December 6.

Today’s announcement means 1,000 fans will be allowed for indoor sports events, including Anthony Joshua’s world heavyweight title defence against Kubrat Pulev on December 12 in London.

HOW FANS WILL RETURN IN DIFFERENT AREAS

TIER 1 

4,000 spectators/ 50% capacity for outdoor events, whichever is lower, and 2,000/ 50% capacity for indoor

TIER 2 

2,000 spectators/50% capacity outdoors, whichever is lower, and 1,000/ 50% indoors

TIER 3 

Ban on spectators remains 

The onerous tiered system which the Prime Minister has said will remain in place until March 31

The onerous tiered system which the Prime Minister has said will remain in place until March 31

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