Boris Johnson confirms up to 10,000 fans allowed at sports stadiums from 17 May

Fans at Stamford Bridge
Up to 2,000 football fans were briefly allowed to attend Premier League matches in December

Up to 10,000 fans will be permitted at outdoor sports venues in England from 17 May, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed.

That includes the final two rounds of Premier League matches this season, with stadiums set to open to home fans only at reduced capacity.

The final two rounds of matches will be played on 18-19 May and 23 May.

"We'll unlock the turnstiles of our sports stadia subject to capacity limits," Johnson said on Monday.

All teams have a home game in either the penultimate or final round of matches.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said: "It'll be brilliant to see fans back.

"They've been hugely missed and the Premier League hasn't been the same without them. Their presence will ensure a fantastic finale to the end of our season."

Up to 2,000 fans were allowed at a number of Premier League matches in December, the last time fans were in attendance at top-flight games, before the country was locked down again.

Snooker was the first sport to welcome back a capacity crowd last week as 980 fans attended the final day of the World Snooker Championship at the Crucible as part of the government's pilot scheme.

Some pilot events, such as the Carabao Cup final at Wembley where Manchester City and Tottenham each had 2,000 fans in attendance, have been held to test the safe return of spectators.

Up to 10,000 fans or 25% capacity, whichever figure is lower, will be allowed at larger outdoor venues, while at smaller outdoor venues, the limit will be capped at 4,000 or 50% capacity.

At indoor venues, the cap will be 1,000 or 50%, whichever is lowest.

Up to 4,000 racegoers will be permitted to return to racecourses while owners will be allowed to see their horses and meet with trainers and jockeys in the parade ring.

David Armstrong, chief executive of the Racecourse Association (RCA), said it was a "hugely important milestone" in British racing's recovery.

"Racecourses are very excited to welcome racegoers back and to be able to offer them a full raceday experience whilst extending our provision for owners to whom the sport remains grateful for their continued support," he added.

In rugby union, Monday's fixtures between Newcastle Falcons and Northampton Saints as well as Bristol Bears and Gloucester will welcome back fans while spectators will be allowed to return to cricket grounds for the round of County Championship matches that begins on 19 and 20 May.

Organisers of Wimbledon said last month they hope to have fans at a minimum of 25% capacity at the tennis Grand Slam this summer.

The government hopes to increase the number of spectators allowed at venues from 21 June, when restrictions in England are expected to be further lifted.

The pilot events continue this weekend when 21,000 fans are expected to attend Saturday's FA Cup final between Chelsea and Leicester City.

The Duke of Cambridge, the FA's president, will attend the game and present the trophy to the winners.

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