Football fans across the country have been issued a significant blow just days away from the start of the 2020/21 season following a government rule change.
Arsenal begin their Premier League campaign this weekend as they travel to face Fulham on Saturday, while Chelsea take on Brighton on Monday night.
Tottenham also begin Jose Mourinho’s first full season in charge with a home clash against Everton on Sunday.
Fans have been unable to attend matches since the previous campaign was suspended in mid-March, with the Premier League and Championship season finishing behind closed doors.
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While it was always clear that the new season would begin in the same fashion, plans were being made for the gradual return of fans to stadium – with Premier League duo Arsenal and Liverpool among the clubs to outline possible plans for limited attendance to matches in October.
However, the government announced on Tuesday evening that gatherings of more than six people would be banned in the biggest crackdown since lockdown rules were eased.
First offenders breaking the rules will be fined £100, which will double on each further offence up to a figure of £3,200 as the government looks to quell an alarming surge in coronavirus cases across the country.
Arsenal Premier League fixtures 2020/21
“We need to act now to stop the virus spreading. So we are simplifying and strengthening the rules on social contact, making them easier to understand and for the police to enforce,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced.
“It is absolutely critical that people now abide by these rules and remember the basics – washing your hands, covering your face, keeping space from others, and getting a test if you have symptoms.”
Chelsea Premier League fixtures 2020/21
Gatherings above six people will be illegal except for those in a limited list of exemptions, which include…