Premier League stadiums are set to be at full capacity next season for the first time since March 2020 after the UK government announced the next stage in easing of the COVID-19 restrictions on Monday.
The proposal, which will be voted upon on July 12, would lift all remaining restrictions in the country from July 19.
While social distancing and mandatory mask-wearing will be scrapped, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said some venues may choose to make use of National Health Service vaccine passport service for entry.
“From step four we will remove all legal limits on the numbers meeting indoors and outdoors,” Johnson said at a news conference.
“We will allow all businesses to reopen, including nightclubs, we will lift the limit on named visitors to care homes and the numbers of people attending concerts, theatre, and sports events.”
The new campaign kicks off on Aug. 13 with a London derby between newly-promoted Brentford and Arsenal at the Brentford Community Stadium which has a capacity of over 17,000.
“Fans have been hugely missed so we welcome today’s announcement by the Government, and are looking forward to full stadiums in the 2021-22 season,” a Premier League statement read.
“As we move towards a Government decision on Step 4 of the roadmap and beyond, we will continue to work with football stakeholders and relevant public authorities to ensure that the return to full capacity is done in a way that keeps everyone safe.”
Leicester City’s 4-0 victory over Aston Villa on March 9, 2020 was the last time a league match welcomed a full capacity crowd before games were played behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Crowds have either been kept out entirely or allowed in restricted numbers since the pandemic, with supporters allowed back for the FA Cup and Carabao Cup finals last season.
Premier League clubs were allowed to open up for a maximum of 10,000 fans or 25% of capacity for the final two matchdays last season.
Supporters have also returned to grounds at Euro 2020 with Wembley set to host more than 60,000 people for the semifinals and final.