BREAKING NEWS: Crowds are returning to football – 10 games will host 1,000 fans each this weekend. Luton, Norwich and Middlesbrough teams are allowed to open the Six Doors rule despite the nationwide crackdown
- This weekend, 10 EFL games were selected as pilot events
- 1,000 spectators will be admitted to each game when the spectators return to the games
- It is the first time since March that fans have been allowed to participate in EFL games
- The pilot events will continue despite recent government restrictions
- Gatherings in groups of more than six people were banned in order to combat increasing infections
Ten football games across England will allow 1,000 fans this weekend – despite increasing coronavirus lockdown measures across the country.
The English Football League has announced 10 teams, including three in the second division championship in Norwich, Middlesbrough and Luton, that have permission to host pilot events for the return of fans.
The news is part of the government's plans to allow increasing numbers of viewers to return to the sports crowds – though doing so appears to contradict the nationwide crackdown on the "rule of six".
Carrow Road in Norwich is one of 10 EFL venues hosting pilot events this Saturday with a maximum of 1,000 spectators
The latest pilot events follow a successful test at Cambridge's Abbey Stadium last week
Three games were selected in the Sky Bet Championship – Luton Town versus Derby County on Kenilworth Road, Norwich City versus Preston North End on Carrow Road and Middlesbrough versus Bournemouth on Riverside Stadium.
The League One games in Charlton, Blackpool, Shrewsbury Town and Hull City as well as the League Two games in Forest Green Rovers, Carlisle United and Morecambe were also selected.
These 10 games are the first in the three EFL divisions since March to have fans admitted.
The Riverside Stadium in Middlesbrough will welcome crowds for the first time since March
1,000 spectators will be admitted to Kenilworth Road in Luton for their game against Derby
862 fans attended the EFL Trophy game in Cambridge last week and had to distance themselves socially in the stands.
The venues were chosen because they are in areas that are not currently subject to coronavirus lockdowns.
However, the announcement is in conflict with this week's government restrictions that ban gatherings of more than six people.
The fans reacted with anger and confusion to the EFL decision, especially in light of the "rule of six" introduced on Monday.
Malcolm Wood wrote on Twitter, “You can't be together in more than six so let's go to the footy. Where is the common thinking !!! & # 39;
Fans reacted with anger and confusion to the decision to let 1,000 fans into the games
Twitter user WWmick wrote: & # 39; England and Scotland have reduced the number of people allowed to socialize to six. So I can't see my family yet. EFL can allow a group of 1000 people. How is that reasonable or fair? & # 39;
A Twitter user named Caitlin said: 'The rule of SIX they said. I can't hang out with my family, but a thousand of us can rock out to a soccer game. Get a damn handle. What an idiot. & # 39;
EFL clubs in safe areas had been invited to direct inquiries to fans until the Tuesday before the Wednesday meeting.
It is likely that the host clubs will hold a poll with subscribers and members to determine who can participate.
EFL pilot games
Saturday 3pm, unless otherwise noted
Luton Town versus Derby County
Norwich City versus Preston North End
Middlesbrough versus AFC Bournemouth
Blackpool versus Swindon Town
Charlton Athletic versus Doncaster Rovers
Shrewsbury versus Northampton
Hull City versus Crewe Alexandra
Forest Green Rovers versus Bradford City
Carlisle versus Southend (1pm)
Morecambe versus Cambridge United
Last week the government limited sport pilots to 1,000 fans and said plans to bring the stadiums back to a third of their capacity by October 1 would be reviewed.
Rick Parry, EFL Chairman, said: & # 39; It is encouraging that we are able to move on to the next phase of the pilot program and give a small number of our clubs the opportunity to welcome up to 1,000 fans again this week be called.
“The health and well-being of supporters and their wider communities remain a priority, but as we demonstrated at Cambridge, social distancing can be safely used.
& # 39; By expanding to other EFL clubs, we would like to further demonstrate that the measures developed can enable fans to return in larger numbers as early as next month.
"The need to welcome spectators back through turnstiles has not diminished in any way. The financial challenges facing EFL clubs have been discussed several times. They are significant and a problem that requires immediate solutions."
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “I know that a lot of fans are ready to return to football and that jobs depend on it too. Hence, fans will welcome the news that the EFL will be using numbered, covid-safe and socially distant pilots this weekend.
"This will help us build the evidence base to see how we can safely return larger numbers of fans once it is safe."
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