EFL 'flexible' for fixtures to be rescheduled to allow fans back - but Portsmouth's trip to Blackpool likely to be behind closed doors

Chairman Rick Parry insists the EFL will be ‘flexible’ with requests for fixtures to be rescheduled in order to allow fans to attend matches next Wednesday.
Tom Naylor in action at Blackpool last season. Picture: Paul ThompsonTom Naylor in action at Blackpool last season. Picture: Paul Thompson
Tom Naylor in action at Blackpool last season. Picture: Paul Thompson

Spectators will no longer be locked out of stadia when the second national lockdown ends on December 2, following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement on Monday.

Up to 4,000 fans will be able to attend matches in areas under tier one restrictions, while there can be 2,000 spectators in tier two areas.

No fans will be allowed in tier three areas, however.

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There are eight League One fixtures scheduled to take place on Tuesday, December 1 – the final down of the lockdown period.

However, Parry is willing to permit games to be pushed back 24 hours to accommodate fans.

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Even if that’s the case, though, Pompey’s trip to Blackpool – scheduled for next Tuesday – will still probably be played behind closed doors.

The north west and Lancashire were in tier three before lockdown because of the high number of coronavirus cases.

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And the Blackpool Gazette reports it's highly likely that the Fylde coast will remain under those restrictions.

The Blues’ visit to Bloomfield Road may, therefore, go ahead as originally planned.

Parry told BBC Radio Four's Today programme: ‘The EFL will be as flexible as we can be if matches could be moved to December 2 to accommodate fans.

‘However, we still need to wait to find out which clubs will be in which tier on Thursday and to get the necessary permissions from the safety advisory groups.

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‘This is a welcome start. Fans have been frustrated, they’re missing their football, so it’s something to celebrate for fans, not just for the clubs.

‘We have to build upon it because what we’re really looking forward to is getting fans back in rather more substantial numbers.’

The Blues’ first game at Fratton Park following the emergence from lockdown is against Peterborough on Saturday, December 5.