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Half Of EPL Clubs Allowed Fans When COVID-19 Restrictions Ease In UK

F
ans will be able to return to up to half of the English Premier League’s (EPL) grounds after new Coronavirus measures were announced in the UK.

The United Kingdom government confirmed on Thursday the national lockdown in England would end on December 2, with regional restrictions in place thereafter.

10 Premier League clubs will be able to welcome fans under the new restrictions, Tottenham, Chelsea, West Ham, Crystal Palace, Arsenal, Fulham, Liverpool, Everton, Brighton and Hove Albion, and Southampton.

Half of the league will be required to continue to play behind closed doors, including heavyweight rivals Manchester United and Manchester City.

Up to 2,000 fans will be allowed to attend games from Wednesday who fell into the tier two category.

Arsenal will host their first match with fans in a Europa League clash against Rapid Vienna next Thursday with a maximum of 2,000 people in attendance.

“While we appreciate that reduced capacity matches will be far from being ‘back to normal’, we can’t wait to welcome our fans back home for what will be a historic moment for the club,” Arsenal said in a statement.

Aston Villa, West Bromwich, Wolverhampton, Newcastle, Leeds, Leicester and Burnley all fell into the tier 3 category, resulting in a no fan policy, which was not received well from Leeds manager, Marcelo Bielsa.

Bielsa said it is unfair to allow fans to return on a partial basis.

“It shouldn’t be about the category, or the consequences of being in a category, it should be about trying to maintain the competition as equal as possible with things that are controllable,” Bielsa said.

“The presence of fans has an effect on the results.

“What the organisation says is people who are from places where there’s a higher risk of infection, it means they will be penalised,” he said.