What supporters can look forward to after Government’s decision to allow fans back from May 17

Fans are already eagerly anticipating returning to live sporting events and they could well be in attendance for some of the most exciting matches this year.   

From May 17, indoor venues will be allowed to admit up to a maximum of 1,000 spectators, or half their capacity if that figure is lower.

For outdoor events, there will be a maximum of 4,000 fans allowed, or half a venue’s capacity (whichever figure is lower).

The Government have announced plans to allow fans back into stadiums from May

For outdoor events, there will be a maximum of 4,000 fans allowed in the Government’s plans

However, at the biggest stadiums, such as Wembley, a maximum of 10,000 fans will be allowed, or a quarter of capacity (whichever figure is lower).

It is still not clear which stadiums qualify as these ‘biggest’ venues… so it remains to be seen whether Test matches and Wimbledon, among others, will be allowed up to 10,000 fans or just 4,000. 

The Government will from April run a series of pilots using enhanced testing approaches and other measures to hold events with larger crowd sizes and reduced social distancing.

Wembley will be allowed a crowd of around 10,000, but what other events could have fans?

Should this work, the Government have announced it hopes to be able to lift restrictions on these larger events and sectors as part of Step 4.

With all that in mind, Sportsmail runs through which events could be the first to see fans return… 


Women’s FA Cup final – May 22 

Final weekend of Premier League season – May 23

England v New Zealand – first Test match June 2, second Test match June 10

Euro 2020 – starts June 11, final July 11 (matches at venues across Europe including Wembley)

Government could lift restrictions on larger events – June 21

Wimbledon – June 28 (men’s final July 11)

England v Sri Lanka T20Is and ODIs – begin June 23 

England v Pakistan ODIs and T20Is – begin July 8

The Open – July 11

Anniversary Games – July 13 

Challenge Cup final – July 17, Wembley

British Grand Prix at Silverstone – July 18 



While there will be no supporters able to see who replaces Arsenal as holders of the men’s FA Cup final on May 15, there is still plenty of football which could be played in front of supporters.

The final of the women’s competition is set to be held at Wembley on May 22, allowing some 10,000 fans to attend. 

Fans will be able to catch the end of another thrilling Premier League season, and Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City could well lift their third Premier League title in four years in front of a few thousand home supporters.

City – who currently sit 10 points clear at the top of the table with 13 games left to play – face Everton on the final day at the Etihad Stadium, which has a capacity of 55,097.

Manchester City could lift their third Premier League title in four years with fans at the Etihad

The match is set to take place on May 23 and could potentially lift their second piece of silverware of the campaign following the League Cup final in April.

Manchester United face a trip to 31,000-seater Wolves, Liverpool host Crystal Palace at Anfield, which has a capacity of just under 54,000.

Meanwhile, Champions League-chasing Leicester City host Tottenham at the 32,000 King Power Stadium, while Chelsea will also be in action in the Midlands Aston Villa. 

Less than three weeks after the English top-flight season finishes, Wembley will be among the European grounds to hold fixtures for the delayed Euro 2020.

The highlight of the group stage comes on Friday, June 8 when England host Scotland at Wembley, with the venue set to host England’s group stage matches, both semi-finals and the final.

Euro 2020 is set to take place in the summer with Wembley playing host to six matches


The news will also come as a relief to the All England Club, who as Sportsmail revealed in January were focusing plans for at least 10,000 daily fans at Wimbledon this year after the 2020 event was cancelled.  

Hopes rose a couple of months ago that a significant number of spectators would be allowed to attend, providing the vaccine rollout in the UK continued apace.

However, the most likely scenario that was being worked was that Wimbledon would operate at around 30 per cent of its normal 40,000-a-day capacity.

But should the Government’s reopening plans proceed as hoped, the tournament could well be the first full-scale major of the year.  The men’s final is set to be played on 11 July, the same day as the Euro 2020 final at Wembley.

Wimbledon could be the first full-scale major of the year if the Government’s plans go well


England will already be six Test matches into their 17 five-day matches this year by the time they face No 1 ranked New Zealand in early June. 

Joe Root’s side are set to play two five-day matches against Kane Williamson’s men, with the first at Lord’s starting on June 2 before the second Test on June 10.

Twenty20 internationals and ODIs then follow over the next few weeks against Sri Lanka and Pakistan, which could all be played in front of full crowds if step four of Government’s plan goes well.

Joe Root’s England face New Zealand in early June before white-ball games against Sri Lanka and Pakistan

A five-match Test series against India commences in August and completes the summer with the final Test in September.

It remains to be seen how many fans will be allowed into arenas around the country, but Root’s men will be one of the main focuses of the summer. 

The dates for the fixtures of the inaugural men’s and women’s Hundred competition have yet to be announced, but could start in late July. 

Formula One 

Lewis Hamilton will have another record in sight in July and another one his feats could take place in front of crowds.

The seven-time world champion will be looking to win a record-extending eight British Grand Prix. 

The Grand Prix is set to take place on 18 July at Silverstone, currently the 10th race on the provisional list for this year, and could also be a full-scale event depending on how the Government views progress. 

Lewis Hamilton will be looking to win a record-extending eight British Grand Prix in July


The Anniversary Games were cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic last year.

West Ham’s London Stadium had been set to host the event – which is part of the Diamond League season – on 4-5 July 2020.

But now it could go ahead not only with athletes out on the track but also with fans in attendance.

The Times reported in January that the BBC are set to show the London meeting on July 13 this year, following negotiations with the BBC.

Last season’s Anniversary Games were cancelled but this season’s are set for July 13

Rugby League

Originally scheduled for August 22 last year, this season’s Challenge Cup final at Wembley is set to take place on on July 17.

After being postponed to October 17 last season, Leeds Rhinos defeated Salford Red Devils 17-16.

If restrictions are still in place at that point, at least 10,000 are set to be allowed to watch the latest instalment.

Leeds Rhinos defeated Salford Red Devils in last year’s delayed Challenge Cup final in October


Organisers at The Open insisted a couple of weeks ago that the event would go ahead behind closed doors if necessary.

But now it appears the 149th open will be staged at the famous Kent course in Sandwich for the 15th time in July with some fans in attendance.

The Open has been delayed for a year but R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers has said it will go ahead this summer, telling Kent Online: ‘We are focused on staging The 149th Open at Royal St George’s from 11-18 July 2021 and on delivering a fantastic Championship for the country and the world of golf.

‘I would like to assure our fans as well as our players, officials, patrons, partners, contractors and suppliers that we will do all we can to make this summer’s Championship a huge success.’

The Open is set to be staged at the famous Kent course in Sandwich for the 15th time in July

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