Premier League stadiums could open at 40 per cent capacity

Premier League stadiums could be able to operate at 40 per cent capacity for the 2020-21 season amid talks between the league and the UK government over easing COVID-19 restrictions.

The Premier League resumed last month following a three-month suspension, with all remaining matches of the 2019-20 season being played without fans due to the ongoing risks posed by COVID-19.

The 2020-21 campaign is tentatively scheduled to begin on September 12 and there is said to be a growing hope among clubs that at least some fans will be allowed into stadiums.

The Independent reported that clubs are aiming to open stadiums at 40 per cent capacity, with a working group having been set up to discuss plans with the government. An empty seat between each fan is among the options being discussed, although stadium designs and the layout of stands could make this more difficult to implement at certain grounds.

Face masks would be mandatory if fans are able to return, with electronic ticketing to be implemented to make it easier for COVID-19 track-and-trace technology.

The Daily Mail also reported that partial stadium reopenings in the Premier League are at an “advanced stage” with a government announcement expected “very soon”.

In other news, Serie A could welcome fans back to stadiums before the end of the 2019-20 season after the league sent a proposal to the Italian Football Federation (FIGC). It follows a videoconference between Serie A and its 20 clubs yesterday (Monday).

Lega Serie A said in a statement: “The need to partially reopen stadiums to the public as soon as possible, in full compliance with safety measures, was reiterated. In this regard a detailed protocol is being finalised and will be sent to FIGC president Gabriele Gravina in the next few hours, so that it can be used in discussions with the appropriate governmental institutions.

“Lega Serie A hopes each club will be given the possibility of reopening their stadiums to a limited number of fans already in the last few rounds of this season.”

The Premier League has just three rounds of fixtures remaining this season, while Serie A has six.