Coronavirus: Will fans be allowed into Premier League stadiums?

FT Desk
  • FT Desk
  • Updated: August 8, 2021, 10:03 CEST
  • 4 min read
Over 50,000 fans watched Man Utd v Everton on Saturday

Over 50,000 fans watched Man Utd v Everton on Saturday

The Premier League will return next week, with Brentford’s match against Arsenal kicking off the new campaign.

Manchester City were comfortably crowned champions last season, ending Liverpool's reign.

While that campaign was completed in full, it was an unusual season largely played without fans in attendance due to the coronavirus pandemic.

That is set to change for the Premier League in 2021/22.

How many fans will be allowed into Premier League stadiums?

As things stand based on the announcement from the UK government in July, the Premier League is expected to have full stadiums in the 2021/22 season.

A Premier League statement last month said: “Fans have been hugely missed so we welcome the announcement by the government and are looking forward to full stadiums in the 2021/22 season.

“We will continue to work with football stakeholders and relevant public authorities to ensure that the return to full capacity is done in a way that keeps everyone safe.”

There was positive progress towards the end of last season as up to 10,000 home fans were allowed into all matches on matchdays 37 and 38 in May.

In a sign of what should be most hope will prove to be a more normal season for supporters at Premier League stadiums, more than 50,000 fans attended Manchester United’s friendly win over Everton at Old Trafford on Saturday.

“We will continue to work with football stakeholders and relevant public authorities to ensure that the return to full capacity is done in a way that keeps everyone safe.”
- The Premier League

There was also a big crowd at the Community Shield at Wembley almost a month on from the Euro 2020 final between England and Italy where 64,000 attended.

In other sports, fans were back at Wimbledon in the summer, while 140,000 attended the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in the largest spectator event held in the United Kingdom since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Will fans need a Covid passport to watch games?

Per the current regulations, fans do not need proof of a double vaccination or a vaccine passport in order to attend matches.

But the Premier League wants all clubs to trial Covid-19 ticketing measures during pre-season and their initial top-flight matches.

The government has been considering introducing vaccine passports – which have already been brought in for nightclubs – to large sporting stadia with a capacity of over 20,000 from October 1.

Chelsea were the first club to announce their supporters would to provide evidence to attend their games this season.

Chelsea are expected to be Premier League contenders

Chelsea are expected to be Premier League contenders

Fans must provide proof of either being fully vaccinated or having a recent negative test result.

On Sunday, Tottenham will trial the same measures when they play rivals Arsenal in a friendly.

There was a warning from the Football Supporters' Association, who said bringing in passports at Premier League matches could cause "chaos" at some clubs.

"I think if they're going to do this with big football crowds they need to have the resources to do the checks," FSA chairman Malcolm Clarke told Times Radio, per BBC Sport.

"I'm not convinced that all football clubs will be able to manage that in a way that doesn't cause some chaos."

Government minister Michael Gove has also strongly suggested domestic Covid passports will be needed for fans attending Premier League matches.

He said passports were “the right way to go so people can be confident that those who are attending those events are less likely to be carriers of the virus”.