Sheffield United given green light to welcome fans back to Bramall Lane after Boris Johnson press briefing

Sheffield United have been given the green light to welcome back some fans for their final game of the current Premier League season against Burnley.

Monday, 10th May 2021, 6:05 pm
Bramall Lane has been empty since last March (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Prime minister Boris Johnson said at a press conference this afternoon that the Government was proceeding with its plan to take the third step in its coronavirus recovery road map, first set out on February 22.

"We'll unlock the turnstiles of our sports stadia subject to capacity limits," Johnson said in his opening speech as he detailed the further easing of lockdown in England.

The Premier League pushed its penultimate round of matches back to May 18 and 19 so that every club would be able to play one game in front of supporters before the end of the season on May 23.

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The league confirmed last week that the matches will be open to home supporters only. Although United have not confirmed how tickets will be allocated for the Burnley game, The Star revealed recently that a ballot option had been set up on their ticket website – although the club say that the loyalty system may also be used to determine who gets to see the Blades live for the first time since last March.

The decision to ease restrictions comes as the country continues to benefit from an accelerating vaccination programme and a fall in deaths and hospitalisations related to Covid-19.

The Government hopes to allow venues to admit significantly higher numbers of spectators from June 21 onwards and it has set up an events research programme (ERP) to test out different safety measures at a range of sporting and cultural 'pilot' events in order to achieve that.

The first ERP sports event with spectators in attendance this year was day one of the World Snooker Championship on April 17, with crowds at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield being increased as the tournament progressed, culminating in a full house for the final on May 2 and 3.

The FA Cup semi-final between Leicester and Southampton at Wembley on April 18 was the first outdoor sports event to welcome back spectators, though it was limited to residents and key workers living locally to the stadium.