UK COVID-19 roadmap offers hope for football fans

LONDON — Fans could be in English stadiums for the final weekend of the Premier League season and there are hopes Wembley may be packed for the Euro 2020 final under plans to ease coronavirus restrictions unveiled on Monday.

The British government’s roadmap to easing a nationwide lockdown means elite sport will continue behind closed doors until at least May 17.

If there are no setbacks during the implementation of the four-stage plan, crowds of up to 10 000 or 25% of seated capacity, whichever is lower, will be allowed to return.

The Premier League season is due to finish on May 23.

Other than a small number of matches played in front of 2 000 spectators late last year, the entire 2020/21 season has been played behind closed doors.

All further restrictions would then be lifted on June 21 in time for a series of major sports events in England.

The semi-finals and final of Euro 2020, which has been delayed by a year due to the pandemic, are scheduled to take place at Wembley from July 6 to 11.

Wimbledon, which was abandoned in 2020 for the first time since World War II, is due to start on June 28.

Golf’s British Open runs from July 15 to 18 at Royal St George’s in Kent.

Monday’s announcement is the first big step towards restoring normal life, nearly a year after Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed the first of three stay-at-home orders that have devastated the country and its economy.

—  AFP

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