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Preview: Brighton v Chelsea Friendly To Trial Return of Fans

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Fans are set to return to a football stadium in England for the first time following the coronavirus lockdown when Brighton host Chelsea in a pre-season friendly on Saturday August 29 at 5PM Kenyan time.

Brighton announced on Wednesday August 26 that season-ticket holders and some club members will be able to purchase a total of 2,500 tickets for the match at the AMEX Stadium.

Fans have not been allowed into stadiums since the coronavirus outbreak saw the 2019/20 season suspended in March, with last season’s Premier League campaign resuming and concluding in empty venues.

Players in action in an empty AMEX stadium during Brighton v Arsenal in the first weekend of the 2019/20 Premier League restart. Source: Sky News

Brighton revealed that the government had approved the event on Wednesday afternoon, and detailed several measures that have been put in place to fulfil guidelines.

Fans will have to wear face masks upon entering the stadium, but will be allowed to remove them once they are in their seat, or for eating and drinking purposes.

Supporters are to socially distance, and will be instructed to remain in the seat they are allocated to ensure a low risk of transmission.

Stewards will also be permitted to carry out random temperature checks on supporters whose details will be stored in line with the government’s track and trace system.

Celtic are in advanced discussions with the Scottish government and SPFL about a test event on Sunday August 30 at Celtic Park when they play Motherwell in the Premiership.

Timo Werner, Chelsea’s new signing in training on August 25. Source: Twitter

Meanwhile Brighton vs Chelsea could see new signings Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner feature in the pre-season friendly as well as returning loanee Ethan Ampadu.

It will be the Blues’ first game in three weeks since the end of the 2019/20 season which saw them clinch top four and Champions League football for another season.

Other new signings such as Ben Chilwell, Malang Sarr and Thiago Silva are unlikely to feature in this game as preparations continue for the 2020/21 Premier League season beginning from September 12.

The game will be shown via Chelsea’s official app The 5th Stand and website for free and via a single-camera output therefore it may not appear as optimised as other regular streamed games. The stream will also be available globally.

UEFA Super Cup to receive fans

Kingsley Coman of Bayern Munich lifts the UEFA Champions League trophy after scoring the only goal to beat PSG on Sunday August 23. Source: Twitter

Fans will be allowed to attend the UEFA Super Cup match between Bayern Munich and Sevilla in Budapest on September 24, football’s European governing body said on Tuesday August 25.

All games in the recent Champions League and Europa League final-stage mini-tournaments were behind closed doors, but UEFA’s executive committee ruled that up to 30 per cent of the 67,215 capacity Puskas Arena in the Hungarian capital can be taken by fans.

UEFA said that all other UEFA matches will continue to be played behind closed doors until further notice, with the Super Cup match being viewed as a test for their ‘Return to Play’ plans. It has not yet been decided whether only local fans will be allowed to attend the match or also travelling supporters.

“While it has been important to show that football can carry on in difficult times, without fans, the game has lost something of its character. We hope to use the UEFA Super Cup in Budapest as a pilot that will begin to see the return of fans to our matches,” revealed UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin.

“We are working closely with the Hungarian Federation and its government to implement measures to ensure the health of all those attending and participating in the game. We will not take risks with peoples safety.”

The Super Cup is seen as Europe’s international club season opener, featuring the previous season’s Champions League winner against the Europa League winner.

Liverpool were the last winners of the UEFA Super Cup when they beat Chelsea on penalties in August 2020. Source: Bein Sports

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