The Trent End

Boris Johnson confirms details of fans’ return to stadiums

Nottingham Forest face playing the rest of the Championship season behind closed doors, after it was announced fans will return to games from May 17, at the earliest.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has outlined his roadmap for exiting lockdown, having made a statement to Parliament this afternoon – with a televised press conference due to follow at 7pm this evening.

Supporters could be allowed back in stadiums under step 3 of the plans, with up a crowd of up to 10,000 or 25 percent capacity, whichever is the smaller.

English stadiums with 40,000 seats will be allowed 10,000 fans, and smaller ones will be allowed to be at quarter capacity from May 17 at the earliest.


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But that would come too late for the Reds, with their final league game set for May 8, when they are at home to Preston North End.

The plans do mean crowds could return for the Championship play-offs, however.

And they could be back for the final day of the Premier League season, on May 23.

The first priority for the government is to reopen schools, which could come into effect as early as March 8. From a sporting perspective, outdoor organised sports for adults, such as football, golf and tennis, are expected to be permitted from March 29.

The Prime Minister announced last November that supporters would be permitted to return to stadiums as part of a ‘Covid Winter Plan’.

Areas in Tier 1 and Tier 2 were allowed 4,000 and 2,000 supporters at home games, respectively, though that soon changed as the country entered Tier 3 restrictions, before the latest national lockdown was imposed just after Christmas.

With England set to host several matches during this summer’s European Championships, the FA Cup and Carabao Cup will reportedly be played in front of spectators at Wembley Stadium as ‘test events’ ahead of this summer’s Euros, according to The Times.

Wembley is set to stage seven matches at the Euros, including all three of England’s group games, a last-16 clash, both semi-finals and the final.

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The Football Association are said to be hoping around 30-35 percent of Wembley’s 90,000 capacity will be able to be filled for the summer international fixtures, and preparations are said to be underway to accommodate fans.

The FA Cup and Carabao Cup finals are being lined up to have a smaller number of spectators in attendance as pilot events before the tournament.

There is also the potential for other test events at the national stadium, including the play-off finals in the Championship, League One and League Two in May.

It is almost a year since Reds fans were allowed into the City Ground, with Forest’s last match in front of a home crowd a 3-0 defeat to Millwall back in March last year.

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