Fans will be spared mandatory temperature checks and face masks inside stadiums under government guidance to be sent to the sporting bodies on Monday. Both infection-control measures will be left largely to the discretion of clubs and their local safety advisory groups when venues reopen on Wednesday. Some clubs are already planning to err on the side of caution, however, with Cambridge United the first club to say it will ask fans to wear masks at all times. As sport rushes to get ready with just 72 hours to go until crowds return for the first time since March, it also emerged: Chelsea’s plans for Stamford Bridge sparked an angry attack from the club's supporters trust, which labelled £75 ticket prices for the game against Leeds as a “clear exploitation of supporter loyalty”. Thousands of Arsenal fans were also left frustrated, complaining their club's ticket website crashed under the weight of demand as just 2,000 tickets for Thursday's clash against Rapid Vienna sold out in minutes. Many clubs in tier two areas were beginning the arduous task of reviewing all their season ticket holders' postcodes to ensure none that enter ballots in the coming days are in tier three. The Football League and Premier League are expect to adopt different approaches on fan protocol after the government guidance is issued. Sports Grounds Safety Authority rules give clubs wiggle room to decide upon their own rules for maintaining social distancing inside venues. It is expected the EFL's document for clubs will be broadly in line with advice from Whitehall, but the Premier League is set to issue tighter instructions under its soon-to-be-finalised plan. Both leagues are almost certain to include a stipulation ensuring there is no hugging or high-fiving between fans outside their social bubble. Limits on singing and shouting are unlikely, but wearing face masks at entry and exit points and in the concourse will almost certainly become mandatory across the sector. Half of Premier League clubs have been given the green light to welcome back fans because their grounds fall in tier two areas. Gary Hoffman, the Premier League chairman, told government advisors over the summer that he wants England's top flight to be at the forefront of a roadmap for sports, concert halls and festivals. The league is hopeful that numbers can be scaled up for a title run-in with full crowds ahead of next summer's delayed Euro 2020 competition and then the Olympics. However, in the short term, the league is keen to prove it has the safest protocols in sport. Having tested players more than other organisations for Covid-19, it is committed to announce protocols that go beyond the government guidance on Monday. The so-called Stage 5 guidance for the return of crowds in tiers two and three will be broadly in line with the late-summer pilot events, when advice varied from venue to venue. The World Snooker Championship ordered spectators to wear masks in the concourse at Sheffield, but not while sat at their socially-distanced seats. Cambridge United supporters were, however, told to do so at all times during the EFL Trophy match between the hosts and Fulham Under-21s. The League Two club has since told Telegraph Sport they will make masks mandatory again, having found their use reassured fans during the pilot. At Brighton, meanwhile, many fans took off their masks while sitting at their seats for the pre-season friendly against Chelsea. There were no strict rules for Harlequins against Bath on Sept 6, too, with around half of the 2,700 allowed in wearing face coverings. Both Oliver Dowden, the Culture Secretary, the Premier League and the Football Association have since spoken positively of the potential for biological passports when rapid testing is scaled up across the country. Eventually, the vaccine could be added to a digital record kept by clubs and venues to ensure ticket holders are Covid-free. However, as Telegraph Sport disclosed, there remains potential confusion over whether teams will end up being allowed 2,000 fans, or just 1,000, this week ahead of the SGSA issuing updated guidance. Under rules devised over the summer, Bournemouth announced on Friday that they were staging a test event at just 1,000 for their Dec 12 Championship game against Huddersfield Town. Wycombe Wanderers were also expecting to be made to do the same for their match on Wednesday against Stoke City. Such decisions would be based on guidance issued in August by the SGSA that “strongly recommended” test events be held for reduced-capacity fixtures, with 50 per cent of the socially distanced capacity cited as starting point. However, Premier League sources said they did not believe that the 1,000 pilot plan would apply to all matches. The SGSA was unavailable for comment, but final decisions on whether to implement the SGSA recommendations are taken by local safety advisory groups. Premier League clubs must still agree by end of play Tuesday on new match-day protocols. Liverpool confirmed the Kop would remain shut for their game against Wolverhampton Wanderers, with only Anfield’s Main Stand in use. Spurs added they would hold a ballot of season-ticket holders and executive members for the north London derby against Arsenal next Sunday.
The rivals meet on Saturday night looking to take a big step towards a world title shot
Both fighters have their eyes set on a world title with this fight likely to boost their hopes heading into 2021