Sports fans returned to stadia on December 2nd after a very long period away.
Much to the relief of business owners, sports stars and everyone involved with the industry, fans were given the opportunity to watch their teams again when national restrictions were eased on December 2nd.
Sports teams in Tiers 1 and 2 were allowed to welcome a portion of fans to games after the easing of restrictions. In Tier 1, stadia could hold 50% capacity up to a maximum of 4,000 fans, whilst in Tier 2 a maximum of 2,000 fans could enjoy live sports, or a maximum of 50% of the stadium’s capacity.
In football, fans returned to grounds in the English Football League across stadia in Tiers 1 and 2. Wycombe Wanderers fans were finally welcomed into their Adams Park home in Buckinghamshire, as the Chairboys suffered a 1-0 defeat at home to Stoke City. It was the first time the club had welcomed fans in since their promotion to the Championship.
It wasn’t just football fans who were lucky enough to get in to grounds to watch their teams. 2,000 avid rugby fans were allowed in to watch the Autumn Nations Cup, a new rugby tournament which replaced the regular Autumn Internationals. The final, a match between England and France, was played at Twickenham – England won thanks to an extra-time penalty from Owen Farrell in an exciting game, made better by the presence of fans.
Teams and organisations have used a number of methods to allow fans in, including allocating tickets to season ticket holders in random ballots.
Southampton FC have put the following restrictions in place:
- Complete a health questionnaire 48 hours prior to kick off;
- Use of NHS Test and Trace app on arrival at St Mary’s Stadium;
- Entry through specific gates;
- No bags permitted into the stadium;
- Compulsory use of face masks or coverings, except for when eating/drinking or when exempt;
- Refrain from singing or shouting.
In a statement, the club said:
“Whilst the process of issuing such a restricted number of tickets is far from ideal, the club is confident that the work it has done up to now, including making season tickets available to purchase back in June and ensuring supporter information is up to date, has put us in a very strong position to welcome supporters back at short notice.”
The club welcomed fans back for the first time on 13th December, as they beat lowly Sheffield United 3-0 at St Mary’s.