EFL confirm 10 matches will allow fans to return to stadiums this weekend



The EFL have confirmed that several fixtures will run this weekend with as part of the pilot programme that will see fans return to stadiums – but Stoke City and Port Vale supporters will have to wait.

Spectators have not been allowed inside sporting venues since March due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but the first phase of fans returning will begin this weekend.

After receiving guidance, the maximum number of spectators allowed inside stadiums will be capped at 1,000, with discussions set to continue with the government about return for supporters in greater numbers in October onwards.

It has been confirmed that three matches in the Championship, four in League One and three in League Two will take part in the pilot programme.

Stoke had been hoping to hold a test event at the bet365 Stadium against Bristol City, which has now been moved to Sunday (2pm), but although this is not happening, there is hope fans could still be back next month.

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EFL chairman Rick Parry hopes this weekend’s pilot programme will allow fans to gradually return to stadiums across the county, securely and safely.

“It’s encouraging that we are in a position to move forward with the next phase of the pilot programme and give a small number of our clubs the opportunity to welcome back up to a 1,000 fans this week,” said Parry

“The health and well-being of supporters and their wider communities remains the priority, but as we showed at Cambridge, social distancing can be applied safely. By extending across more EFL clubs we hope to further demonstrate that the measures developed can allow fans to return in greater numbers from as early as next month.

“The requirement to welcome spectators back through turnstiles has not diminished in any way, the financial challenges facing EFL clubs have been explained on numerous occasions, they are substantial and a problem that requires immediate solutions.”

The Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, echoed Parry’s views in wanting fans back inside stadiums as soon as it is safe to do so.

“I know that many fans are eager to return to football and that jobs depend on this too, so fans will welcome news that the EFL will be running number capped, covid secure, and socially distanced pilots this weekend,” said Dowden.

“This will help us build the evidence base to see how we can return fans safely in greater numbers as soon as it is safe to do so.”

The full list of fixtures that will allow fans to attend this weekend are as follows:

Championship

Luton Town vs Derby County

Norwich City vs Preston North End

Middlesbrough vs Bournemouth

League One

Charlton Athletic vs Doncaster Rovers

Blackpool vs Swindon Town

Shrewsbury Town vs Northampton Town

Hull City vs Crewe Alexandra

League Two

Forest Green Rovers vs Bradford City

Carlisle United vs Southend United

Morecambe vs Cambridge United





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