Sports venues in England prepare to host fans as restrictions ease




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Football, greyhound racing, horse racing, rugby league and rugby union are among sports to open their doors to fans as the third step of Government’s coronavirus recovery roadmap is implemented.


Larger seated outdoor venues will be able to admit up to 10,000 spectators.

Smaller outdoor venues capacities will be capped at 4,000 or 50 per cent, whichever is the lowest.

After ’s successful FA Cup final test event, which saw 21,000 in attendance for ’s Wembley victory over Chelsea, two Sky Bet Championship clubs will see the return of fans.

Barnsley will be backed by around 4,500 for their play-off tie with Swansea, while just over 2,000 will be in attendance when Bournemouth host Brentford in the other semi-final first leg.

But fans have had to get used to a new set of rules with face-masks, online checks and maintaining social distance now part of the matchday routine.

Barnsley’s club website has also advised fans “to avoid hugs, ‘high-fives’, handshakes, or other close contact with those not in your social group.”

There is also a slight easing in restrictions course, with owners able to access the parade ring to meet trainers and jockeys, and masks only compulsory in the paddock and indoor areas.

Redcar’s general manager Amy Fair said: “We’re really looking forward to welcoming spectators back after so long, we’ve really missed the atmosphere they bring, but the emphasis has to remain very much public safety.”

Romford Greyhound Stadium will also welcome back fans but no -course bookmakers will be present.

Crowds will also be back in rugby union’s Gallagher Premiership, with Bristol expecting a crowd of 3,138 for the visit of West Country neighbours Gloucester.

Newcastle will play Northampton in front of 1,750.

Rugby league has a busy programme Monday night with five Super League matches and two Championship games.

Hull can have 5,500, St Helens and Warrington 4,000 each, Castleford’s capacity is 3,600 and Leigh are working to 2,000.

Premier League crowds will return on with the league pushing its penultimate round of matches back to May 18 and May 19.

That decision has allowed every club to play one game in front of supporters before the end of the season Sunday.

(dpa/NAN)