There has been a raft of news lately about when fans will return to soccer stadiums in England. So let’s wrap up what we know at the moment.
When the UK government announced, in February, a “roadmap to reopening,” the bottom line for English football supporters was that up to 10,000 fans would be allowed as of Monday, May 17 — just in time for the last games of the 2020-21 Premier League season on Sunday, May 23.
Premier League clubs objected, saying it wouldn’t be fair for just one round of games to have fans. Say Fulham and Newcastle go into the last two weeks locked in a relegation battle, but only one of them gets fans at a home game the last weekend? So there was pressure to also have fans at the games the weekend of May 15.
It was later announced, and reported here by the BBC, that the Premier League might move some games around and work with the government to have fans at the last two weeks of games. That way, everybody would get one home game with fans.
The government later announced a pilot program, called the Events Research Program (ERP), as test cases for fans returning. It was quickly announced that the FA Cup Final on May 15 would be one such test event.
This week, it was announced that the ERP “pilot project” will include at least one FA Cup Semifinal the weekend of April 17-18, as well as the League Cup Final the following weekend. Both of those are at Wembley Stadium.
So, Which English Football Fixtures Will Have Fans?
The bottom line is that fans will start showing up in April as part of the pilot program.
Look for fans at:
- The FA Cup semifinal on April 17 or 18
- The League Cup Final on April 25
- The FA Cup Final May 15
- The last two rounds of Premier League games, on the weekend of May 15 and on Sunday, May 23