Football supporters get green light for May 17 return

Football fans will be allowed back into stadia from next Monday.

Limited numbers: Some Leeds United (above) and Sheffield United fans will be allowed into Elland Road and Bramall Lane, respectively. Picture: Tony Johnson

Barnsley’s May 17 Championship play-off semi-final at home to Swansea City will be one of the first beneficiaries, with up to 4,500 fans allowed to attend.

Leeds United and Sheffield United’s final two matches of the season – one home, one away, in each case – will also be played in front of crowds.

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Save for a few pilot matches and a brief spell in December when restrictions were eased in Tier 2 (which in Yorkshire’s case took in only the North Riding), league football in England has been played behind closed doors since the weekend of March 7/8 2020, depriving clubs of extremely important income, the moreso the lower down the pyramid clubs are.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that in light of the huge progress England is making in bringing down Covid-19 infection rates, the next stage of the Government’s “roadmap” will continue as planned from May 17.

Leeds and Sheffield United’s final-weekend games against West Bromwich Albion and Burnley respectively on May 23 will be played in front of quarter-capacity crowds.

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