The opening weekend of the 2021/22 Premier League season in mid-August is expected to be played at full capacity stadiums as UK government ministers remain on course to end remaining social distancing measures in England on 19 July.
The original roadmap had planned for that date to be 21 June, but concerns over rising coronavirus cases and specifically the infectious ‘Delta’ variant saw it pushed back.
However, as life gradually begins to return to normal, fans are already being allowed to return to football stadiums in increasingly larger numbers.
Every Premier League club was able to play their final home game of last season in front of a small number of supporters – for many teams it was the first time for over a year.
England’s Euro 2020 group games at Wembley allowed around 20,000 fans to attend, with that number increased to just under 42,000 for the last 16 tie against Germany. Both semi-finals and the final of the competition will be back at Wembley, with the limits increased to 60,000, which equates to 75% of the stadium’s usual full capacity.
By the time the Premier League season is ready to get underway in six weeks, The Guardian writes that clubs are expected to have permission to fill their stadium. However, it is said that the Premier League is backing a potential scheme that would require ‘COVID certification’ to ensure that mass events can continue to happen into the winter season.
If there are pressures to start reducing capacity with a winter spike, the Premier League would hope to implement ‘COVID status checks’. Such certification is considered more likely than restrictions returning if there are further problems in the coming months.
It effectively means that fans may have to provide proof of vaccination details or test results.