Fans to return to sporting venues by mid-May PM confirms

Sports clubs will be able to host spectators from 17 May under Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s four-stage roadmap to exit lockdown.

Addressing the House of Commons this afternoon, Johnson detailed plans to ease COVID-19 restrictions currently in place to prevent the spread of the virus.

“The turnstiles of our sports stadia will once again rotate subject to capacity limits on the size of the venue,” he said.

As part of the proposals, crowds of up to 10,000 will be able to attend live sporting events at the largest venues by mid-May, coinciding with the delayed 2020 European Championships, Wimbledon, the British Grand Prix and other major tournaments.

The FA Cup final, which is due to be played two days prior, is being considered as a test event to lift the spectator ban in place. In addition, the easing of restrictions would also mean that supporters will be able to watch their favourite Premier League teams in action on the final weekend of 23 May.

The FA said it is ‘absolutely delighted’ with the announcement, whilst Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters – who said last week that he hoped fans would return by the end of the 2020/21 campaign – said the news was the ‘best case scenario’ for the top flight.

In December, select football clubs were permitted to host spectators under the tiering system, which was later scrapped when Johnson introduced a third national lockdown. Although elite sport was allowed to continue throughout the lockdown, fans were once again barred from attending live events.

Furthermore, organised outdoor grassroots sports will return from 29 March, whilst organised indoor sports – such as squash and badminton – will be back by 17 May when the rule of six comes into force.

Outdoor events attendance will be capped at 50% capacity or 4,000, depending on which is lower, whilst indoors events will be set at 50% capacity of 1,000, also based on which is lower.