Premier League clubs to welcome back fans

Arsenal will be the first Premier League club to welcome fans for a competitive fixture since March after confirming 2,000 spectators will be allowed in for their Europa League match against Rapid Vienna on December 3.

England will return to a regional tiered system when the national coronavirus lockdown ends on December 2, with those areas suffering the worst case rates entering the highest Tier 3.

Most of the country, including London, will enter into Tier 2, allowing 2,000 fans to attend sports events.

An Arsenal statement read: “While we appreciate that reduced-capacity matches will be far from being ‘back to normal’, we can’t wait to welcome our fans back home for what will be a historic moment for the club.”

West Ham’s match against Manchester United on December 5 is set to be the first Premier League game to open its doors to supporters.

Brighton, Chelsea, Tottenham, and Liverpool are the other teams in tier-two areas hosting games that weekend.

Brighton boss Graham Potter said: “The biggest relationship at the football club is the one between the supporters and the players. So to have them around, I think it is amazing for everybody and great for football.”

But Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa, whose side are based in a tier-three area where fans remain banned from venues, believes it is unfair to allow supporters to return on a partial basis.

“It shouldn’t be about the category or the consequences of being in a category, it should be about trying to maintain the competition as equal as possible with things that are controllable,” Bielsa said.

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