Manchester United kick off their 2020-21 Premier League season September 19th at home against Crystal Palace, and there might be something in the stands that haven’t been seen since the coronavirus outbreak: real fans!
According to ESPN, team officials have been in discussion with the English government and city officials to get the permission to open Old Trafford at 30% capacity, meaning a potential 12,000 fans in the stands.
The final meeting will be held Thursday to discuss the possibility of the trial run for the match on September 19. If the test run is successful and doesn’t pose any security risks, United will aim to increase the capacity in the following matches.
“We are working with the Premier League, DCMS, SGSA and the local authorities on planning for a safe return of fans to matches at Old Trafford as soon as it is permitted,” a United spokesperson said.
“We are preparing for a large number of possible eventualities and reviewing options for the first test event and we will only confirm this once the relevant local and national approvals have been agreed.”
If given the go-ahead United will have to selectively pick which fans they will allow back into a limited-capacity stadium and with a huge season-ticket account base, this could prove to be a difficult task.
“For matches where there is restricted capacity, tickets will be distributed in a fair and equitable way. Finally, our overall priority is to create a safe environment at the stadium for fans, players and staff.”
After Palace, United host Tottenham, and if the trial is successful, the possibility of even more fans entering Old Trafford will be discussed, but until then, cardboard cutouts will be cheering on United.