Only 18 days until the Premier League season ends on 23 May 2021 and Newcastle fans still awaiting final official confirmation on how the last two rounds of fixtures are going to work, when it comes to supporters being allowed into those matches.
After the March 2021 meeting of the 20 Premier League clubs, it was revealed that the plan was for there to be both home and away fans allowed into the final two Premier League games of the season.
That plan including the second last round of matches set to be moved from the second last weekend (around Saturday 15 May) to the final midweek (Tuesday 18 May and Wednesday 19 May), to enable all PL clubs to have some fans present at one home match, following the planned Monday 17 May Government date for spectators to be allowed back at the various outdoor sporting venues.
Last week brought confirmation that as expected, the third last round of Premier League matches had been moved back from the midweek (Tuesday 11 May / Wednesday 12 May) to the second last weekend, with Newcastle v Man City now to take place on Friday 14 May. So now we are only waiting to find out whether the Sheffield United home match has been moved from Saturday 15 May to Tuesday 18 May or Wednesday 19 May.
As for the plans for fans to attend these final two rounds of Premier League matches, an exclusive from The Times last week revealed that the Premier League CEO, Richard Masters, had written to all 20 clubs to tell them what the final proposed plan is.
Clubs had already been working on the basis of having stadium 25% full, up to a maximum of 10,000 fans, for the final two rounds of matches.
The Richard Masters letter confirmed that the Government had indeed given the go ahead, as from 17 May, for 25% of capacity up to a maximum of 10,000 supporters to attend, with that also to include some away fans.
The Premier League plan outlined in the Masters letter is that 5% of that capacity should be away supporters, up to a maximum of 500.
For Newcastle United, that could mean the final home game against Sheffield United seeing 9,500 NUFC fans allowed and 500 Blades supporters.
Whilst Craven Cottage has a capacity of around 24,000, so for the very final game of the season, around 5,700 Fulham supporters and 300 travelling Newcastle fans seemingly set to be allowed in.
However, Fulham, are currently operating with a capacity of less than 20,000 thanks to the redevelopment of Craven Cottage.
With The Mail now reporting that the actual number of Newcastle fans could be as low as 100 when it comes to how many away supporters may be able to be inside Craven Cottage on that final day of the season.
The Mail report that currently, access to the stadium can only be obtained via the Johnny Haynes Stand, complicating the matter further, then with added issues of social distancing, their information is that Fulham are working on the basis of only a total of 2,000 supporters to be allowed in for this last game of the season. Working on the 5% basis, it would mean 100 Newcastle fans and 1,900 Fulham supporters.
This latest report and others, also claims that a number of clubs feel that the 5% token allocation for away fans is pointless and will simply cause unnecessary problems in this first return of fans to all Premier League clubs in 14 months.
There also remains the much talked about possible conditions, with fans potentially needing vaccine ‘passports’ / negative virus tests before being allowed to take up a ticket / seat at one of these final two matches of the season.
With that Sheffield United match at St James Park now only 13 or 14 days away, you would surely expect some kind of official confirmation from the Premier League and the 20 clubs in the very near future…
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