PREMIER LEAGUE fans MUST wear masks in their seats when top flight turnstiles reopen tomorrow – in a bid to get up to 20,000 supporters in grounds by the end of the season.
The 20 Prem clubs agreed new Covid regulations to cover the first crowd attendances in the League since March.
Premier League fans have to wear masks in their seats when they return to stadiums this weekend[/caption]
They include urging fans to ‘moderate’ their singing and shouting, although chants will not – unlike hugging fellow supporters – be banned.
But while Government guidelines indicated fans would only have to wear masks on entry and in concourses, the club chiefs agreed to enforce the tougher measures.
By mandating mask wearing except when fans are eating or drinking, clubs would be able to seat supporters at 1m distance in the most modern grounds.
And that could allow up to one third of total capacities – 20,000 or more for the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Newcastle, Spurs, Arsenal and West Ham – before the campaign finishes.
Five clubs will open their gates this weekend, starting with West Ham’s game with United at the London Stadium and including Sunday’s North London derby at Tottenham.
All fans must follow strict entry protocols, including a health questionnaire and agreeing to the new ‘Code of Conduct’ before setting off to the stadium.
At the gates, supporters must pass ticketing and ID checks, as well as a temperature test and normal security screening.
But masks MUST be worn at all times unless supporters are eating or drinking, with club stewards under order to police the new rulebook strictly.
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And while singing and chanting is not banned fans are being urged to ‘moderate their behaviour’ and avoid ‘excessive’ acts.
In the short term, League bosses are hopeful that a successful reopening will allow capacities to be extended from the current level of 2,000 in Tier Two areas and 4,000 if parts of the country are moved into Tier One.
The news that a Covid vaccine is being rolled out nationwide is a further boost, with Prem bosses offering to trial any technological processes the Government backs.
And that could see pilots with up to 10-15k supporters over the coming months, although it is not currently envisaged that full houses will be allowed before the end of the season.