Premier League

Penultimate round of Premier League matches pushed back to allow fan attendance

Ross Jackson
Apr 15, 2021, 5:00 PM GMT+1
Fan will be able to watch their team at home this season
Fan will be able to watch their team at home this season | Tom Jenkins/Getty Images
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The penultimate round of Premier League fixtures in the 2020/21 campaign has been pushed back to allow fans the opportunity to attend one of their club's home games this season.

Matchday 37 had been scheduled to take place the weekend before lockdown restrictions were eased further on May 17.

Fans are set to return to Premier League football stadiums this season
Fans are set to return to Premier League football stadiums this season | Pool/Getty Images

The government's current roadmap means that as of May 17, up to 10,000 fans will be permitted to attend football matches, with only the final round of fixtures falling after said date. There was a worry that some sides could gain an unfair advantage if their final game of the season was played in front of their fans.

The PA news agency understands that this issue has now been resolved, with the Premier League moving the penultimate round of fixtures to either 18 or 19 May so all 20 top flight teams will be able to play one game in front of their own supporters.

The report adds that the Premier League has informed all 20 clubs about the switch, though no concrete plans are to be made until broadcast arrangements are in place.

The Carabao Cup final between Tottenham and Manchester City is being used as a pilot for the return of fans, with 8,000 spectators expected to be in attendance for the showpiece event on April 25.

Old Trafford could see 10,000 fans return later this season
Old Trafford could see 10,000 fans return later this season | Michael Regan/Getty Images

One issue which has been raised is whether fans will be required to provide proof of negative COVID-19 tests prior to attending venues, and the league’s executive director Bill Bush told BBC Radio Four’s Today Programme recently that this is a likely scenario.

“The alternative [to certification] is not freedom," he said. “The alternative is social distancing, tiny crowds, major restrictions on people’s movement and ability to eat, drink, travel. Away fans banned for example.

“So to end those restrictions of freedom, we believe that something like this is an acceptable burden to give fans the freedom to attend.”

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