Football fans across the country can rejoice as the stadiums are FINALLY open again.
It’s been a long time coming and watching football on TV, with a fake crowd noise, it’s just not the same.
Last year has been difficult for all of us in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, but stepping back into the stadiums makes it seem like a semblance of normalcy is back.
The final two rounds of the Premier League season will be played out in front of the fans, as the race for the top four intensifies.
There were 21,000 people at Wembley for Saturday’s FA Cup final between Leicester and Chelsea, with the government using it as a test event, hopefully paving the way for a broader easing of restrictions.
It showed how much we had missed them. The cheers. Singing. Boo them. The hights. The socks. It all added to the drama of the show.
Unless you’re a Chelsea fan, how could you be reluctant to watch Leicester players celebrate with their fans after winning the trophy for the first time in their history?
After all, it has been over a year since the Premier League pitches were at full capacity. No one knew at the time, but Leicester’s 4-0 win over Aston Villa on Monday, March 9, 2020 was to be the last time a stadium hosted full venues.
The easing of coronavirus restrictions in England went into effect on Monday, May 17, which means people across the country can drink in a pub, go to the theater and movies and watch live sporting events.
How many fans are allowed?
Up to 10,000 people or a quarter of the capacity, whichever is smaller, will be allowed in larger venues like Wembley.
However, smaller stadiums will be limited to 4,000 people or half of their capacity, whichever is lower.
The Premier League has, however, decided not to allow away supporters in the last two matches of the season.
Gameweek 37 will be played on Tuesday May 18 and Wednesday May 19 while the last day of the season will be Sunday May 23.
How does it feel to be back?
TalkSPORT host Andy Jacobs was at Wembley on Saturday to watch his beloved Chelsea lose and despite his disappointment with the result he was happy to be at a live game.
Jacobs said: “Being there and being at a game and being able to go to a game was just heaven. It was paradise.
“Even the things that really annoy me like when you take the tube to Wembley and the fans get along and start singing and intimidating all the other passengers, I never really like it, but on Saturday, I joined. ”
When were they last in the stadiums?
Up to 2,000 fans were allowed to take part in a number of Premier League matches in December, the last time fans were present at top-level matches, before the country was locked down again.
At the end of the second national lockout in December, clubs were allowed to have a limited number of supporters if they were in a level two zone.
The last Premier League game to welcome fans was Everton vs Chelsea on December 12 – 157 days ago.
Pilot events also took place last month, most notably in the Carabao Cup final with 2,000 supporters from Tottenham and Man City cleared to attend.
When are full stadiums allowed?
Hopefully full stadiums will be a thing once all restrictions are over, which is slated for June 21.
The new Premier League season starts on August 14 and league chief Richard Masters was optimistic things would ‘be back to normal’ from that date.
He said earlier this month: “I am really optimistic that we will be full. All the background music and messages from the government are positive.
“Safety will always come first and maybe the fan experience will be slightly different. But I am optimistic.
“This is our goal and all we need to put in place, with our record, the clubs will step in and do it. Crowds at full capacity are the missing ingredient.
“This season has been amazing in so many ways. I have no fear that next season will be anything but competitive and chaotic, like this one.
How many fans are allowed at Euro 2020?
The FA has told UEFA that group stage matches at Wembley can have up to 25% of the stadium’s capacity – a number similar to the number of supporters in the FA Cup final.
It is hoped that for the round of 16 this can be increased to around 50%, as it comes after June 21 – when the restrictions are expected to end in England.
It’s not entirely set in stone, however, as there’s still a chance the June 21 date will be pushed back.