Under the UK government’s current roadmap out of lockdown in the COVID-19 pandemic, fans will be permitted to return to stadia in limited numbers from May 17.
There are subsequent plans to push back the 37th round of fixtures in this season’s Premier League to reflect this, with these to be held midweek to allow supporters to attend.
Initially, this was expected to be solely home fans, which would have seen Liverpool vs. Crystal Palace on May 23 the only fixture with Reds in the stands.
But The Athletic report that the Premier League are now planning to allow away supporters to attend games as soon as possible, which opens up the prospect of fans also being at Burnley vs. Liverpool on May 18/19.
It remains to be seen how many away tickets will be allocated, but a Premier League shareholders’ meeting on Thursday revealed that it could see 1,000 visiting fans.
“Either away supporters will be granted 10 percent of a fixture’s ticket allocation,” the report reads, “or an across-the-board cap will be imposed by the Premier League.”
There remains the caveat that these plans are only possible if the government’s roadmap stays in place, with an increase in COVID-19 cases potentially leading to changes.
It seems a strange decision to allow a minimal amount of away fans at the first hurdle, particularly given the obvious risks of travelling to grounds from other areas.
But the leap has to be made at some stage, and perhaps this is the good news supporters have been waiting for as normality edges closer after over a year without full stadia.