Fans will once again be banned from attending football matches as more areas of England are to be placed under tougher coronavirus restrictions from midnight.

Liverpool is to be moved into tier three of the government’s restrictions for England, which means fans will no longer be allowed into Anfield or Everton’s Goodison Park.

The two grounds had been the only Premier League stadiums permitted to allow up to 2,000 fans inside under tier two restrictions.

Many other areas of England, including parts of the North West, the North East and the Midlands are moving into the toughest tier four restrictions from 00:01 GMT on Thursday, 31 December.

This is what they mean for elite and grassroots sport.

Can elite sport continue?

As was the case during the last English lockdown between 5 November and 2 December, and when tougher restrictions were introduced in London and the South East before Christmas, exemptions have been made for elite athletes to continue to train and compete.

And professional sports will be allowed to continue behind closed doors.

Under the existing rules, a maximum of 4,000 fans are allowed at outdoor events in tier one and up to 2,000 supporters are permitted in tier-two areas but none in tier three and four.

And Wednesday’s announcement means that Liverpool, Everton and the seven EFL clubs that had been in tier two, are now within tiers three or four – so no fans are allowed at any of those games.

In Wales, elite sport remains behind closed doors.

What about non-elite and grassroots football?

The Football Association says “non-elite football” is not permitted in tier four areas. That includes:

  • Steps three to six of the National League System (all leagues in the system below the National League North and South)
  • Tiers three to seven of the women’s football pyramid (all leagues in the pyramid below the Championship)
  • Regional National League System feeder leagues
  • Barclays FA WSL Academy League (unless under elite guidance)
  • Women’s FA Cup – classified as ‘non-elite’ up to and including the third round
  • Indoor and outdoor adult grassroots football

What about other grassroots sport?

Outdoor sports courts, outdoor gyms, golf courses, outdoor swimming pools, archery, driving and shooting ranges and riding centres will remain open for use individually, or with others from your household or support bubble, or with one person from another household.

How about youth sport?

Organised outdoor sport for under-18s can continue.

And disability sport?

Organised outdoor sport for disabled people will be allowed.

What about gyms and leisure centres?

Leisure centres and indoor gyms, indoor swimming pools, indoor tennis and basketball courts, indoor fitness and dance studios and indoor climbing walls must close in tier four areas.


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