THE Premier League are pushing back their penultimate round of fixtures so every team can play a home game in front of 10,000 fans – but without away supporters.
It is understood the 37th round of games will now take place on May 18-19.
Manchester United and the rest of the Prem will have one opportunity to play in front of their own fans at the end of the seasonCredit: Bradley Ormesher – The Times
The Premier League will welcome back crowds in mid-May, meaning, amongst other things, that fans will once again can see any VAR decisions first handCredit: AFP or licensors
That is the day after the third stage of the government’s Covid-19 roadmap is planned to start.
The Prem has told clubs of the decision to move the round of fixtures – but public confirmation of the plans are not expected until broadcast arrangements are in place.
Lockdown restrictions are set to ease on May 17, allowing outdoor venues to hold 25 per cent of capacity or 10,000 people, whichever is smaller.
There was concern that this would mean half the teams in the Premier League would be allowed to play in front of their fans for the final day of the season – while the other half would not.
Pushing back the second-to-last round of games means every club will be afforded the chance to play at their own ground in front of 10,000 supporters.
The Prem had also wanted away followers allowed back for the final two rounds of fixtures.
But some clubs were worried about social distancing and long trips.
And in the end the Prem put off the issue of away fans returning until next season.
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The hope then is that crowds will be back as normal for the 2021-22 kick-off in August.
Police forces are understood to be anxious to know when that decision will be confirmed.
But it is thought unlikely that any announcement will be made before the end of the current campaign.