‘Open the turnstiles’: UK PM Johnson gives green light for 10,000 fans to return at Premier League games
Johnson confirmed the move in a press conference on Monday afternoon.
During his opening speech, which laid down the details of the further easing of lockdown restrictions across England, the PM confirmed that his government would "unlock the turnstiles of our sports stadia subject to capacity limits".
This means that from next Monday, May 17, large seated outdoor stadiums will be allowed to accept up to 10,000 punters while smaller venues are to be capped at 4,000 or 50%, depending on which amount is the lowest.
Today we have announced the single biggest step on our roadmap and it will allow us to do many of the things we have yearned to do for a long time. So let's protect these gains by continuing to exercise caution and commonsense.— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) May 10, 2021
The UK government will allow larger crowds from June 21 onwards, with the Euro 2020 tournament on the horizon.
Last month, an FA Cup semifinal clash between Leicester and Southampton was Britain's first outdoor sports event since the pandemic to welcome back punters, but only residents of the Wembley area and key workers were granted access.
The following weekend, 2,000 fans who bought tickets enjoyed the Carabao Cup final contested by Manchester City and Tottenham, and the biggest test yet will be when more than 10 times that amount see Chelsea take on Leicester in the FA Cup equivalent on Saturday.
BREAKING:The FA Cup final between Chelsea & Leicester City could host 21,000 fans on May 15th.We're getting there people. 🙏 pic.twitter.com/WLAQzwdkbA— Footy Accumulators (@FootyAccums) April 26, 2021
In comments made last week, Premier League chief executive Richard Masters confirmed that only home supporters will be able to attend matches for the rest of the 2020/2021 campaign but said it will still "be brilliant to see fans back".
"They have been hugely missed and the Premier League has not been the same without them. Their presence will ensure a fantastic finale to the end of our season," Masters added.
"Although only a small number of home fans will be at our matches next week, this is an important step in our return to normality," he concluded.
All Premier League teams will benefit from the step as they each have one home game and one away game remaining in the final two rounds of the season.
UEFA to consider moving Champions League final to Wembley ... or Portugal. Decision expected in the next 48 hours pic.twitter.com/RfX2wFrxol— Frank Khalid (@FrankKhalidUK) May 10, 2021
Elsewhere, the UK government is pushing for the Champions League final to be held at Wembley too.
As an all-English affair that pits Manchester City against Chelsea, a special exception to admit 25,000 fans would be made, though Lisbon is providing stiff competition as an alternative venue to Istanbul with Turkey on the UK's red list.
"It would be brilliant to host [the final] here if we can," Johnson said at the weekend, adding that "with two English teams in the final, it would be a great shame if fans were unable to attend".Also on rt.com Istanbul is Blue: After nine years, Roman Abramovich has a Champions League final again after Chelsea storm past Real Madrid