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Brighton welcomes 2,524 socially distant fans for a friendly against Chelsea


Brighton welcomed 2,524 socially distant fans to a friendly against Chelsea as the crowd returned to the game two weeks before the new Premier League season began.

Fans had to keep a seat between them as they gathered at the Amex Stadium on Saturday, which ended in a 1-1 draw.

There were plenty of hand sanitization spots on the way to the bottom, and face covering was required – many opted for the blue and white colors of the seagulls – as fans had to queue to get in, but not while seated.

Fans filled out medical questionnaires before the game and agreed to the tracking and tracing.

The preseason game was part of a series of pilot events announced by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport for a gradual return of viewers following the ban on mass gatherings introduced in March due to the coronavirus outbreak.

When announcing the pilots, State Secretary for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden, said: “I know fans and their teams can't wait to be reunited in the country's stadiums, but we have to be careful and take a step-by-step approach to get fans back safely.

Fans had to keep a seat between them as they gathered at the Amex Stadium on Saturday, which ended in a 1-1 draw. The preseason game was part of a series of pilot events announced by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport for a gradual return of viewers after the ban on mass gatherings

The seating arrangement created an interesting view of the stands as the lines of fans were broken up by vertical lines of empty chairs. The digital match ticket was scanned for entry into the stadium, with cashless transactions at kiosks and signage reminding fans of the need to wash their hands regularly

The seating arrangement created an interesting view of the stands as the lines of fans were broken up by vertical lines of empty chairs. The digital match ticket was scanned for entry into the stadium, with cashless transactions at kiosks and signage reminding fans of the need to wash their hands regularly

When the action began, Chelsea, who have quarantined a number of players after returning from summer break and is following government guidelines on self-isolation, took an early lead in just four minutes

When the action began, Chelsea, who have quarantined a number of players after returning from summer break and is following government guidelines on self-isolation, took an early lead in just four minutes

"I am pleased that infection rates have fallen enough to allow the pilot program to resume, and we will continue to work closely with experts in the fields of sports, medicine, health and safety to welcome more fans back as soon as possible be called."

The next pilot on Sunday will be Lewes FC against London Bees, a preseason friendly match for women.

In Brighton this afternoon, a digital game ticket was scanned for entry to the stadium, with cashless transactions at kiosks, and there were signs reminding fans of the need to wash their hands regularly.

The seating arrangement created an interesting view of the stands as the lines of fans were broken up by vertical lines of empty chairs.

The two and a half thousand spectators, all Brighton season ticket holders selected from the club's loyalty program, were dispersed to give the East Stand a chessboard effect, some in a different section of the South Stand behind the gate.

Fans immediately went through their musical repertoire, starting the time-tested & # 39; Seagulls & # 39; singing as Brighton showed off their new yellow away shirt and new signing Adam Lallana, who was being recruited for a player freelance from champions Liverpool.

When the action began, Chelsea, who have quarantined a number of players after returning from summer break and is following government guidelines on self-isolation, took an early lead in just four minutes.

Brighton had a chance to equalize five minutes in the second half after Lewis Dunk was knocked down by Antonio Rudiger to take a penalty. Blues goalkeeper Willy Caballero, who replaced Kepa Arrizabalaga at halftime, saved Neal Maupay's free kick. In the picture, fans jumped from their seats as the action on the field increased

Brighton had a chance to equalize five minutes in the second half after Lewis Dunk was knocked down by Antonio Rudiger to take a penalty. Blues goalkeeper Willy Caballero, who replaced Kepa Arrizabalaga at halftime, saved Neal Maupay's free kick. In the picture, fans jumped from their seats as the action on the field increased

There were plenty of hand sanitization spots on the way to the bottom, and face coverings were required - many opted for the blue and white colors of the seagulls - as fans lined up to get in, but not while seated

There were plenty of hand sanitization spots on the way to the bottom, and face coverings were required – many opted for the blue and white colors of the seagulls – as fans lined up to get in, but not while seated

Ian Maatsen of Chelsea during the friendly match. Chelsea winger Ziyech, a summer transfer from Ajax, was replaced after what appeared to be a twisted knee

Ian Maatsen of Chelsea during the friendly match. Chelsea winger Ziyech, a summer transfer from Ajax, was replaced after what appeared to be a twisted knee

Chelsea's Argentine goalkeeper Willy Caballero saves a penalty from Brighton's French striker Neal Maupay during the pre-season friendly

Chelsea's Argentine goalkeeper Willy Caballero saves a penalty from Brighton's French striker Neal Maupay during the pre-season friendly

Brighton boss Graham Potter hopes more fans will get a chance to see the team in action again soon. "I thought it was a fantastic day - a small step to get back to normal as soon as we can safely do so," said Potter on the club's official website.

Brighton boss Graham Potter hopes more fans will get a chance to see the team in action again soon. "I thought it was a fantastic day – a small step to get back to normal as soon as we can safely do so," said Potter on the club's official website.

Timo Werner scored just four minutes after making his first appearance for Frank Lampard's Chelsea. The Seagulls will once again host Chelsea on September 14 in their first Premier League game currently set to be played behind closed doors

Timo Werner scored just four minutes after making his first appearance for Frank Lampard's Chelsea. The Seagulls will once again host Chelsea on September 14 in their first Premier League game currently set to be played behind closed doors

Moroccan international Hakim Ziyech, one of several new recruits, crossed Callum Hudson-Odoi to knock the ball down and Timo Werner came home in the summer.

Brighton had a chance to equalize five minutes in the second half after Lewis Dunk was knocked down by Antonio Rudiger to take a penalty.

Blues goalkeeper Willy Caballero, who replaced Kepa Arrizabalaga at halftime, saved Neal Maupay's free kick.

Chelsea winger Ziyech, a summer transfer from Ajax, was replaced after what appeared to be a twisted knee.

In the closing stages, Seagulls' substitute Christian Walton had to be taken down on a stretcher with what appeared to be a serious ankle injury after falling after a corner.

Brighton secured an injury-time draw when Aaron Connolly was fouled by Ethan Ampadu and Pascal Gross converted the penalty.

Pascal Gross hammered a penalty home to equalize in the 90th minute. Brighton secured an injury-time draw when Aaron Connolly was fouled by Ethan Ampadu and Pascal Gross converted the penalty

Pascal Gross hammered a penalty home to equalize in the 90th minute. Brighton secured an injury-time draw when Aaron Connolly was fouled by Ethan Ampadu and Pascal Gross converted the penalty

The friendly was played in preparation for the return of the Premier League in September. Pilots were introduced to see what impact crowds are having on the spread of the coronavirus

The friendly was played in preparation for the return of the Premier League in September. Pilots were introduced to see what impact crowds are having on the spread of the coronavirus

Hakim Ziyech was substituted off in the second half after injuring himself from a free kick. The Moroccan international, one of several new recruits, crossed Callum Hudson-Odoi to knock the ball down and Timo Werner arrived that summer

Hakim Ziyech was substituted off in the second half after injuring himself from a free kick. The Moroccan international, one of several new recruits, crossed Callum Hudson-Odoi to knock the ball down and Timo Werner arrived that summer

The pre-season friendly was the first English soccer game since March with 2,500 fans. The crowd clapped and cheered as the game began

The pre-season friendly was the first English soccer game since March with 2,500 fans. The crowd clapped and cheered as the game began

The Seagulls will once again host Chelsea on September 14 in their first Premier League game currently set to be played behind closed doors.

Brighton boss Graham Potter hopes more fans will get a chance to see the team in action again soon.

"I thought it was a fantastic day – a small step to get back to normal as soon as we can safely do so," said Potter on the club's official website.

& # 39; It was so nice to see fans here because as we know it brings a whole different dynamic to the stadium and I thought they made a lot of noise and really got into the game. Hopefully they enjoyed the performance too.

"I think the people at the club deserve a lot of credit for a job well done and hopefully it was the first successful step towards getting back to normal at some point in the future."