Liverpool and Everton banned from having fans at games after new tiers announced across UK


Fans will be locked out of sporting events nationwide once against after the government tightened coronavirus restrictions in an effort to halt the sharp increase in cases.

From Thursday morning, all areas of the UK will be placed in at least tier 3 with the exception of the Isles of Scilly, meaning that sporting venues will have to close their doors to the public regardless of whether they are outdoors or not.

It means the only two Premier League clubs that were still able to have supporters at home matches in the form of Liverpool and Everton will have to close their stadiums once again, just a month after they were allowed to reopen.

An Everton club statement read: “We can confirm that, following the government’s announcement the Liverpool City Region is moving into tier 3 of the national Covid-19 restrictions from midnight tonight, we won’t be able to welcome fans to Goodison Park until further notice, including Friday’s game with West Ham.”

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Liverpool followed their Merseyside rivals in confirming that restrictions will prevent fans from attending Anfield. “We will move back to playing games behind closed doors following the government’s announcement that the Liverpool City Region has been placed in Tier 3 restrictions,” the club said.

Health secretary Matt Hancock announced in Parliament on Wednesday afternoon that both Liverpool and North Yorkshire will be moved to tier 3, with the remaining parts of the south-east, large parts of the Midlands, the north-east and south-west of England placed in the stricter tier 4 measures.

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He added that the changes were necessary due to the sharp rise in cases an Covid-related hospitalisations, which “demonstrate the need to act where the virus is spreading”.

The government easing of restrictions following the second national lockdown at the start of December saw the allowance of 2,000 fans at football matches in tier 2 areas, and 4,000 supporters for those lower-league clubs in tier 1. Clubs immediately opened their doors for the return of fans, even though for many it represented an operational loss due to the spend required for safety measures and extra staff.

However, London was quickly upgraded to tier 3 along with areas of Hertfordshire and Essex, and that was soon followed by larger areas of the south-east, with areas of the north and Midlands having remained in tier 3 since lockdown was lifted.

After the UK recorded its highest daily increase in daily Covid cases on Tuesday, the government were forced to take action in an effort to get the pandemic under control, with Tuesday’s latest figures displaying 53,135 new cases, an increase of nearly 12,000 on the previous day’s tally.

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