Chelsea fans could be back for Leeds game

Stamford Bridge could host supporters for the first time since the first national coronavirus lockdown, with restrictions set to be eased from December 2.

Monday’s announcement by the government means up to 4,000 fans could be at Chelsea’s home game with Leeds United on Saturday, December 5.

The stadium last hosted fans on March 8 when a crowd of 40,694 watched the Blues beat Everton 4-0.

The announcement by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), linked to a wider three-tier system of Covid restrictions to follow the end of the current four-week lockdown, means a maximum of 4,000 fans will be allowed into stadiums in tier one (medium alert) locations, and 2,000 fans in tier two (high alert) locations.

But fans will continue to be shut out at clubs in the tier three highest risk areas.

Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck said: “As I am sure our fans do as well, the club welcomes this development and will continue to work with the Premier League and the DCMS on the safe return of fans to Stamford Bridge.”

The club is to calculate how the limited places will be allocated “as fairly as possible”,  and is also working with the Premier League over potential future pilot events to help all Premier League clubs scale up to larger capacities in line with the Sports Ground Safety Authority’s COVID-secure guidelines.