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Diogo Jota celebrates after scoring for champions Liverpool against Leicester. The empty galleries may wear a changed look after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to allow fans from December. Image Credit: AFP

London: Premier League on Tuesday welcomed the United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement on the return of fans into the stadiums.

“Fans have been greatly missed at Premier League matches and therefore we welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement today regarding the return of supporters for the first time since March, albeit at small numbers,” Premier League said in a statement.

Announcing the latest set of measures designed to combat the spread of coronavirus on Monday, the British Prime Minister said that the four-week national lockdown in England will end on December 2 and will be replaced by a new three-tiered system, Goal.com had reported.

The number of fans that will be allowed in the stands will depend on what tier a club’s stadium is situated in. The report says that stadiums in areas placed in tier 1 will be allowed the entry of 4,000 fans, sitting while maintaining social distancing, or half of their maximum capacity, whichever is fewer. Stadiums in areas situated in tier 2 can hold matches in the presence of 2,000 socially distanced fans or half of their maximum capacity, whichever is fewer.

However, the venues in areas placed in tier 3 will continue to hold matches behind closed doors.

Premier League said their ambition remains to work with the government to “increase attendance to more substantial levels”.

“Our ambition remains to work with the Government to increase attendance to more substantial levels. Until this can be done, many fans will be unable to attend games and our clubs will continue to operate matches at a financial loss,” the statement read.

“Our priority continues to be the agreement of a road map, with DCMS and the Sports Technology and Innovation Group, for pilot events that can help our clubs quickly scale up to larger capacities in line with the Sports Ground Safety Authority’s COVID-secure guidelines and beyond,” it added.

The statement further stated that Premier League clubs have a proven track record of “achieving high-biosecurity standards” and they believe they can play a “significant role” in the government’s rapid turnaround testing initiative.

Eight positive cases

Premier League, meanwhile, has confirmed eight new positive coronavirus tests after its latest round of testing. Altogether 1,530 players and club staff were tested from November 16 to November 22.

“The Premier League can today confirm that between Monday 16 November and Sunday 22 November, 1,530 players and club staff were tested for COVID-19. Of these, there were eight new positive tests,” the league said on Monday.

Premier League said that the players or club staff who have tested positive will self-isolate for a period of 10 days.

“The Premier League is providing this aggregated information for the purposes of competition integrity and transparency. No specific details as to clubs or individuals will be provided by the League and results will be made public after each round of testing,” the statement added.