A few days, the England government detailed a plan by which small amounts of fans can be admitted for live sporting events in the UK after December 2. Today, we found out more about how that will work, and effect Tottenham Hotspur.
According to The Athletic, the government has outlined a tier system by which areas with lower levels of coronavirus outbreaks can welcome back more fans to home stadiums. Areas in Tiers 1 and 2, which have the lower coronavirus levels, can admit 4,000 and 2,000 fans into stadiums respectively. Tier 3 areas, which have the highest concentration of coronavirus cases, will not be allowed any fans.
The Athletic states that London is in a Tier 2 zone, which means all London clubs, including Tottenham Hotspur, will be allowed to have 2,000 fans in attendance next weekend. For Spurs, their first home match after December 2 is the home North London Derby on Saturday, December 5.
2,000 fans represents just 3% of the total capacity of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and that’s not a lot. However, it’s a lot more than has been allowed since football shut down in March.
It’s also more than what half of England will be allowed. The Athletic notes that the greater Manchester area is under a Tier 3 restriction, meaning Manchester United and Manchester City will not be allowed to have fans until their numbers start going down. Ditto to Burnley, Aston Villa, Leeds, Leicester City, and Newcastle.
As previously noted, having small amounts of masked, socially distant fans in a cavernous stadium is much less of an issue with regards to viral transmission than the logistics of getting them there, in, out, and back home again safely. In his financial statement to Tottenham supporters, Spurs chairman Daniel Levy noted that Spurs have been working diligently to create systems by which fans can attend matches in the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium safely during the pandemic. That also includes working with transit authorities to find systems for public transport to and from the stadium.
Spurs are one of the clubs that are most heavily affected by lack of match day income, but also one of the clubs that is best situated to weather the storm. Even so, Tottenham is probably the club most heavily invested in trying to get supporters back in seats. This decision won’t do much to alleviate the financial shortfall, but it is a symbol of hope that with a vaccine coming, the possibility exists of packed football stadiums in the not-so-distant future. And you can bet that the 2,000 lucky fans in attendance at the NLD will be making a ton of noise.