Only half of the English Premier League stadiums will be allowed some fans when coronavirus restrictions are relaxed next week
LONDON — Only half of the Premier League stadiums — mainly in London — will be allowed the return of some fans when coronavirus restrictions are relaxed next week, according to new government measures announced Thursday.
Another 10 top division clubs are in areas classified as the highest risk for COVID-19 infections so will remain closed to spectators, including Manchester sides United and City.
Even stadiums that can partially reopen will only have home fans, who will be asked to keep to social distancing and avoid close contact like hugging.
Up to 2,000 fans will be allowed into games at Liverpool and Everton from Wednesday because the region has been placed into tier 2.
That is the same classification for London, providing entry for up to 2,000 fans at Arsenal, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Tottenham and West Ham, and on the south-coast for Brighton and Southampton.
That means Arsenal will be allowed to reopen the Emirates Stadium for the Europa League home match against Rapid Vienna next Thursday.
But Manchester United’s home game the previous night in the Champions League against Paris Saint-Germain — the day the national lockdown ends — will still be shut for spectators.
The other clubs in tier 3 areas and closed to spectators are: Aston Villa, West Bromwich, Wolverhampton, Newcastle, Leeds, Leicester and Burnley.
Fans have been largely shut out of sports events in England since March when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. More than 56,000 people have died from the coronavirus in Britain.
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