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Chelsea back to playing with no fans in the stadium as London moves to Tier 3 of COVID-19 restrictions

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Big blow to the matchday atmosphere

Chelsea FC v FC Krasnodar: Group E - UEFA Champions League Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Starting on Wednesday, Chelsea and all other London clubs will be once again unable to allow fans to attend in person due to the exponential rise (and possible mutation!) of COVID-19 in London. Chelsea had been allowed a maximum of 2,000 fans for the past couple weeks, after London was categorized in Tier 2 following the end of lockdown restrictions on December 2nd.

UPDATE: Those fans who had won the lotteries for tickets to the men’s match against West Ham or the women’s matches against Benfica or Spurs will be getting refunds.

We had the pleasure of improved matchday atmosphere with fans in the stands for the Leeds United and Krasnodar matches, but now our upcoming fixture against West Ham next Monday, December 21, and all home games until the restrictions are eased, will be played once again without fans in attendance.

The situation remains fairly fluid. Per guidelines, London’s downgrade into Tier 3 will be reassessed in a week, meaning changes could be made by December 23rd when the next review is scheduled — though we shouldn’t be expecting immediate improvement, even as vaccinations begin around the world, including in the UK and the US.

The only Premier League teams remaining in Tier 2 regions and thus allowed to have fans in attendance are Liverpool, Everton, Southampton, and Brighton & Hove Albion.

Speaking in the pre-match presser before our match against Wolves, Lampard expressed disappointment at having fans back only for a short period, despite club (seemingly) doing a fine job in implementing protocols and restrictions to help keep fans safe.

“Let’s be honest, we are making it up as we go along. That’s not to sound critical but it is the fact of never being in the position before.

“I think when you are talking about whether the clubs can control the situation then I think they have shown that so far they can. So I would like to have thought there would be something that we could do to get that 2,000 number in. Again, that goes above my station so I am just saying what I think.”

- Frank Lampard, source: Football.London

Disappointing and unfortunate for all involved, but such is life in a pandemic, which continues to rage on. Stay safe everyone.