The opening weekend of the 2021/22 Premier League season in mid-August is expected to be played out in full capacity stadiums as UK government ministers remain on track to end social distancing measures remaining in England on July 19.
The initial roadmap had scheduled that date to be June 21, but concerns about the increase in coronavirus cases and in particular the infectious variant “Delta” pushed it back.
However, as life gradually begins to return to normal, fans are already allowed to return to football stadiums in increasing numbers.
Each Premier League club was able to play their last home game of last season in front of a small number of supporters – for many teams it was the first time in over a year.
England’s Euro 2020 group matches at Wembley saw around 20,000 fans in attendance, with that number dropping to just under 42,000 in the last 16 games against Germany. The semi-finals and final of the competition will return to Wembley, with limits raised to 60,000, which equates to 75% of the stadium’s usual full capacity.
As the Premier League season is set to kick off in six weeks, The Guardian writes that clubs should be allowed to fill their stadiums. However, the Premier League is said to be backing a potential program that would require ‘COVID certification’ to ensure mass events can continue to occur during the winter season.
If there is pressure to start reducing capacity with a winter peak, the Premier League is hoping to implement ‘COVID status checks’. Such certification is considered more likely than the return of restrictions if there are other issues in the coming months.
This effectively means that fans may be required to provide proof of vaccination details or test results.