Monday 23 November 2020 3:28 pm

PM confirms return of fans to live sport when lockdown lifts on 2 December

Spectators will be allowed back to live sport when the second national lockdown is lifted in England next week.

Prime minister Boris Johnson confirmed today that up to 4,000 fans will be able to attend sport outdoors in low-risk Tier 1 areas.

Up to 2,000 will be able to attend outdoor sport in Tier 2 areas and up to 1,000 will be allowed to attend indoor sport in Tier 1 and 2 areas.

Live sport in areas deemed to be higher-risk will remain closed to the public for the time being.

England’s second lockdown is due to end on 2 December.

An announcement on which areas will be in which tiers is likely on Thursday this week.

The prime minister said: “In Tiers 1 and 2, spectator sports will be free to resume inside and outside with capacity limits and social distancing, providing more consistency with indoor performances in theatres and concert halls.”

Crowds at outdoor sport will be capped at 4,000 or 50 per cent of stadium capacity – whichever is lower – in Tier 1 areas.

That figure will be 2,000 or 50 per cent of capacity in Tier 2, and 1,000 or 50 per cent capacity for indoor sport, where allowed.

The move comes after pressure from leading sports bodies to allow fans into grounds to boost the finances of ailing clubs.

Spectators were due to be welcomed back to sport in crowds in October, but those plans were shelved weeks before when Covid-19 cases rose.

Premier League chief Richard Masters warned on the eve of the new season that clubs stood to lose £700m if fans were kept out.

Shops and gyms are set to be reopened when lockdown ends, while pubs will not have to close until 11pm.

Organised grassroots sport can also resume from 2 December.

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden said: “This is a big step forward for sport. Bringing grassroots sport back was my number one priority so I’m pleased we are reopening sports and gyms in every tier, in recognition of the significant health benefits.  

“I’m also delighted we are able to get the turnstiles turning  sooner than expected, taking a cautious approach and starting with the lowest risk areas first. 

“I’m confident that sports will take every step to ensure their fans are safe, and fans will play their part and look out for each other until we can safely get everyone back in.”