Premier League confirms fans will return for final two rounds of matches

5 May 2021, 14:34 | Updated: 5 May 2021, 14:50

Socially distanced Arsenal fans watch their team play in December
Socially distanced Arsenal fans watch their team play in December. Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Football fans will return to stadiums for the final two rounds of Premier League games this season, it has been announced.

Up to 10,000 supporters will be allowed into grounds in round 37 on 18 and 19 May and in round 38 on 23 May, provided the Government continues with its planned easing of coronavirus restrictions on 17 May.

However, away fans will not be allowed to attend, so this will be limited to home spectators.

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A league statement said: "Following consultation with clubs, it was agreed matches would not be open to away supporters due to varying operational challenges across the league and the need to deliver a consistent approach, while maximising the opportunity for home-fan attendance.

"The safety and security of supporters is of paramount importance. Clubs have a proven track record of providing Covid-safe environments and have operational plans in place ready to safely welcome supporters back to their stadiums."

The Government is set to announce whether or not restrictions will be eased no later than May 10.

But the data is encouraging, with deaths at their lowest levels for seven months, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

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It was understood the league was keen on opening up the final two rounds to fans to avoid any issues around competition integrity.

The Premier League is yet to confirm what mitigations will be in place for those wishing to attend, with fans at last month's Carabao Cup final required to provide proof of two negative coronavirus tests before entry to Wembley.

The league is supportive of a Covid certification system, with its executive director Bill Bush having previously described it as "an acceptable burden" in order to get spectators back into venues in financially viable numbers.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters spoke in March about his ambition to have stadiums operating at full capacity next season.