All British sport back behind closed doors under new coronavirus restrictions

Mark Staniforth, PA
·2-min read

Sports fans will be barred across Great Britain after the Government placed almost all of England under tier three or four coronavirus restrictions.

Under the rules, fans are only able to attend games in regions that are in tier one or two – which now applies solely to the Isles of Scilly.

The Scottish government tightened its own restrictions on Boxing Day, ruling fans out of attending all elite-level games, while supporters are also banned in Wales.

Until the restrictions were tightened, 10 clubs in the Premier League and EFL – including Liverpool and Everton – had been able to admit supporters, plus three clubs in rugby’s Gallagher Premiership.

Everton’s home against West Ham on Friday night is the first to be affected, despite the club having put extensive measures in place for the 2,000 fans who had been due to be present at the fixture.

Everton tweeted: “We can confirm that, following the Government’s announcement the Liverpool City Region is moving into Tier Three of the national Covid-19 restrictions from midnight tonight, we won’t be able to welcome fans to Goodison until further notice, including Friday’s game with West Ham.”

The move also means that non-league Marine’s FA Cup third-round clash with Tottenham on January must also now take place behind closed doors.

The Northern Premier League Division One side had hoped to welcome 500 supporters for the fixture.

In a statement, Marine admitted: “This is a huge disappointment for all involved with the club but safety must always be paramount.”

Until the government’s announcement, the Premier League and EFL clubs that had been able to admit fans were Everton, Liverpool, Bournemouth, Plymouth, Shrewsbury, Barrow, Carlisle, Exeter, Harrogate and Tranmere.

Everton and Bristol City in the Women’s Super League, Bath, Exeter and Worcester in the Gallagher Premiership, and eight race courses had also been able to welcome spectators.

The affected clubs responded with resignation, with Plymouth tweeting that they were “disappointed with this development, but we appreciate the importance of overcoming this pandemic together”.

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