UK government announces plans for fans to return
The Premier League could see fans return for the final week of the 2020-21 season, as the UK government has announced its plan to come out of lockdown in the coming weeks and months.
[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his ‘roadmap’ plan on Monday, as the rate of COVID-19 infections in the UK have come down in recent weeks after the new variant saw cases surge throughout December and January.
The UK has also powered ahead with its vaccination program, as close to 19 million people have now received vaccinations.
In the roadmap it was announced that sports stadiums would be able to host fans from May 17, as long as COVID-19 rates continued to fall across the UK.
It was stated that some stadiums could host up to 10,000 fans (a lot more than the 2,000 fans we saw at some games in December) for games, if their stadium has a capacity of more than 40,000. Smaller venues would be allowed 25 percent of their overall capacity.
The UK government would use these games as test events for how large venues could host larger crowds without the need for social-distancing due to testing around the event and other measures.
Here is more information from our partners in the UK at Sky Sports:
“Under the proposals, it would mean the final weekend of the Premier League season, set to be played on Sunday, May 23, could potentially be played in front of a limited number of fans.
“With Manchester City top of the league, 10 points clear of second-placed Manchester United, supporters could see Pep Guardiola’s side lift the Premier League trophy against Everton at the Etihad.
“Although the FA Cup final is set to be played on Saturday, May 15 - two days before the initial plans to allow fans to return, it could be used as a test event.”
How could this work in the Premier League?
The Premier League season is due to end on May 23, so the final day of the season could see fans welcomed back in larger numbers than anyone previously expected.
Premier League teams showed in December that they can host 2,000 fans safely in their stadiums and if they are able to host supporters again in May, it will likely be crucial in proving how they can host fans for the 2020-21 season.
With many games during the UEFA European Championships this summer set to be held at Wembley Stadium in England, this decision also opens the door for fans to attend games at that tournament and many other sporting events across the UK.
Assuming everything goes to plan, fans will be returning to Premier League games on a large scale before the end of the 2020-21 season.