England to allow 4,000 fans at elite sports events in lowest-risk areas

British PM Boris Johnson said in a statement that 4,000 spectators will be allowed to attend outdoor sports events in lowest-risk tier one areas from December 2.

As part of new COVID-19 restrictions, a total of 2,000 fans will be allowed to attend sporting events in tier two areas but none can do so in tier three areas.

Up to 4,000 spectators will be allowed to attend outdoor sports events in lowest-risk tier one areas of England when a month-long national lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19 is lifted on December 2, the British government said on Monday.

As part of new COVID-19 restrictions, 2,000 fans or 50% of a stadium's capacity - whichever is lower - can attend sporting events in tier two areas but none can do so in tier three areas, Britain's Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said in a statement.

English Premier League matches have continued behind closed doors during the lockdown announced on November 1. Supporters have not been allowed into sporting venues since the first lockdown was announced in March, barring a few exceptions.

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"I can confirm the national restrictions will end on Dec. 2... People can leave their home, subject to the rule of six," British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement to the House of Commons.

"Wedding services, outdoor sports can resume. Leisure can resume. Sports will be able to resume inside in tier one and two with measures on social distancing.

"Enforcement will be strengthened with new powers to close down premises that pose a risk to public health."

Members of Parliament are set to cast a vote on plans before they are confirmed and the government will announce on Thursday which areas will go into which tier.

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Indoor sport and physical activity will also resume but with some restrictions on activities due to the higher transmission risk of the novel coronavirus.

Organised grassroots sport will resume from Dec. 2 and gyms and leisure centres will be able to reopen across all tiers.

"This is a big step forward for sport. Bringing grassroots sport back was my number one priority," Dowden said.

"... I'm confident sports will take every step to ensure their fans are safe, and fans will play their part and look out for each other until we can safely get everyone back in."

The Football League (EFL) which organises football in the Championship and lower two divisions welcomed the decision.

"Whilst today's news is subject to regional restrictions, it is an important step in achieving a return to normal, alongside it being crucial to addressing the significant revenue gap left by a lack of spectators and other revenue streams as a result of the pandemic,” the league said.