EFL welcomes lifting of football stadium capacity restrictions ahead of 2021-22 season with Hartlepool United, Middlesbrough and Sunderland fans set to return
From July 19, football supporters will once again be allowed to return to stadiums across England with no social distancing or capacity restrictions in place
Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed on Monday evening that football stadiums will no longer be restricted to capacity limits and social distancing guidelines as they were for the duration of the 2020-21 campaign.
North east club’s Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Hartlepool United will start their respective seasons in the Football League on the weekend on August 7.
Sunderland and Pools will host matches in front of unrestricted crowds against Wigan Athletic and Crawley Town respectively on August 7 while Boro will travel to Craven Cottage to face Fulham with away supporters allowed to attend on August 8.
In a statement, the Football League has welcomed the positive step in the right direction ahead of the new season.
“The EFL welcomes today’s positive announcement by the Prime Minister that capacity restrictions are expected to be lifted later this month, which will allow us to finally press forward with our plans to see a full return of fans to EFL stadiums from the start of the new EFL season in just four weeks’ time,” the statement read.
“Football has been planning for this outcome since the outset of the pandemic and having been forced to endure empty stadiums since March 2020, the message from EFL Clubs is that we are ready to re-open and welcome fans back in numbers.
“From the EFL’s own participation in the Events Research Programme and our Club’s extensive experience built up over many years, we are confident that all our Clubs can successfully manage large scale events and we will continue to work with the Government on the guidance that will help support their matchday operations.
“Today’s developments, of course, have been made possible by the staff at the NHS and countless medical experts and scientists who have helped to develop and roll-out the vaccines.
"On behalf of the League and its membership, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for playing such an important role in helping re-open our sport and wider society.”