Fans return to English Football League matches after nine-month absence

Luton Town fans at Kenilworth Road
Luton fans are allowed in at Kenilworth Road for the first time since 29 February

Fans returned to English Football League grounds on Wednesday for the first time in more than nine months as coronavirus restrictions were eased.

Luton and Wycombe, who had not played in front of fans at their home grounds since February, were permitted capacities of 1,000 for their matches.

Carlisle, Charlton, Shrewsbury and Cambridge also welcomed back fans.

Other EFL teams playing on Wednesday were in tier three areas, which prohibits supporters at elite level.

Luton Town fans at Kenilworth Road
Luton fans are given coronavirus checks prior to their Championship match with Norwich
Luton Town fans at Kenilworth Road
Luton fans celebrate a goal against Norwich at Kenilworth Road
Fans at Carlisle's Brunton Park
Fans return to Carlisle’s Brunton Park for their League Two match against Salford
Fans at Carlisle's Brunton Park
Carlisle fans welcome their team at Brunton Park
Fans at Carlisle's Brunton Park
The restricted number of fans at Carlisle were joined by cardboard cut-outs of those not able to attend

Luton and Wycombe were only permitted capacities of 1,000 but Charlton, Shrewsbury, Cambridge and Carlisle, who all staged test event matches earlier in the season, were all able to house 2,000.

No away fans were allowed and no supporter was able to attend if they live in a tier three area.

Arsenal will be the first Premier League club permitted to host home supporters, when they play Rapid Vienna in the Europa League on Thursday.

The first Premier League fixture to welcome fans since March will be West Ham’s game at home to Manchester United on Saturday, before Chelsea host Leeds later that day.

With the exception of two pilot events at Warwick and Doncaster in September, horse racing has also been without crowds since March, but racegoers were able to return on Wednesday with Lingfield Park in Surrey, among the tracks able to welcome back spectators.

Snooker remains without spectators as the UK Championship continues in Milton Keynes, but on Wednesday plans were announced for up to 1,000 fans to attend each session of the PDC World Darts Championship, which starts at London’s Alexandra Palace on 15 December.

BBC News

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