Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea are among the Premier League clubs that will have the opportunity to welcome back fans from next week, after the government announced the latest coronavirus tier system.
The latest update from the UK government has seen the cities of Liverpool and London placed in tier 2, meaning Jurgen Klopp’s side, as well as Tottenham, Everton, Fulham, Crystal Palace and West Ham, can all have supporters in attendance at their stadiums.
With Manchester having been placed in tier 3, however, Manchester United and Manchester City will not yet be given the green light to allow fans back in.
The same rule has been applied to other areas of the country, affecting Wolves, Newcastle, Leeds, West Bromwich Albion, Sheffield United, Leicester and Burnley, who will also not be allowed to open their stadiums for supporters at this moment in time.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson had announced on Monday that a maximum of 4,000 fans would be allowed in to football matches in England, should the stadiums be in towns and cities that are in tier 1 of the government’s tier system.
That does not, however, apply to any Premier League clubs, with Thursday’s tier update stating that only Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight are currently in that threshold.
Of the 10 top-flight stadiums that fall under tier-2 restrictions, a maximum of 2,000 fans, or 50 per cent of their capacity – whichever is lower – will be allowed to attend fixtures from December 2, when the national lockdown ends.
Despite the announcement, it is unclear at this stage exactly how many of the 10 Premier League clubs will attempt to allow in supporters at the next opportunity, with Arsenal being the first to be able to welcome back fans for their Europa League clash against Rapid Vienna on December 3.
As for some of the other clubs, their first chance to allow up to 2,000 fans back in will be the 11th round of league fixtures beginning on December 5.
The north London derby, due to take place at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, falls on that weekend, while Liverpool face Wolves at Anfield, Chelsea host Leeds United and Manchester United travel to the London Stadium to face West Ham.
Many of England’s top-flight clubs have expressed their optimism at the proposed welcoming back of supporters to grounds, with Liverpool having released the following statement on Tuesday: “Liverpool Football Club welcomes the government’s announcement regarding the proposed return of fans into sports stadia.
“We have greatly missed our supporters at Anfield and we look forward to welcoming them back when it is safe to do so.
“We will continue to work with our city partners, including Liverpool City Council, Merseyside Police and Spirit of Shankly, in order to establish the most up-to-date health guidance and the most effective process for the safe return of supporters.
“While we await confirmation of which tier the city of Liverpool will be placed in, we continue to work through our plans and will make further announcements in due course.”