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English football fans are finally returning to stadiums across the country tonight after watching their beloved teams from home for the last 266 days.
Aside from a handful of pilot events, supporters have been prevented from attending fixtures since the coronavirus pandemic took its toll in mid-March.
They will finally return to stadiums this evening, however, after the national lockdown officially came to an end today and tier systems were introduced.
Tier 1 areas will be able to welcome up to 4,000 fans back, yet only three areas of the country are under these restrictions and none have professional teams.
Tier 2 areas can allow 2,000 fans back into arenas, or half of their capacity if that number is smaller.
Nevertheless, tier 3 areas are still not able to reintroduce spectators and will continue to apply strict regulations.
Fans are returning to English football stadiums in six EFL matches this evening; with Cambridge, Carlisle, Charlton, Luton, Shrewsbury and Wycombe the first clubs to welcome their supporters back.
Luton and Wycombe’s matches have been capped at 1,000 capacity, but the other four fixtures are operating at the maximum 2,000.
Carlisle were the first team to play in front of their fans again as their clash with Salford City kicked off at 7pm this evening.
Supporters will be allowed to sing in support of their team, yet they must remain socially distant and follow a number of other rules.
They will be told not to touch the ball if it comes near them, while also wearing face masks as they enter the stadium and find their seats.
Fans will also be urged not to approach players for autographs and selfies before and after matches.
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There will be no away fans in attendance at any fixtures, while no supporter will be allowed to attend if they live in a tier three area.
Clubs have issued guidance to their fans, although some of the key details depend on each individual club.