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Football fans bemoan the North-South divide in new Covid tiers

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Football fans bemoan the North-South divide in new Covid tiers

‘It’s completely unfair!’: Football fans bemoan the North-South divide in new Covid tiers which will see crowds back in London and Liverpool… but locked out in Manchester and Newcastle

  • The government has announced it’s new tier system for coronavirus restrictions
  • A swathe of cities in the north of the country have been placed in the top tier
  • Newcastle, Manchester and Leeds cannot re-open sports venues to supporters
  • However, clubs in London and the South East can now welcome back 2,000 fans 

Football fans from the north of the country have cried foul over the government’s new Covid tiers as they point to a clear North-South divide after the announcement of those areas stuck with the highest restrictions. 

Newcastle, Manchester and Leeds are among the cities that have been placed in the very high threat category – Tier 3 – by UK leaders, meaning that there is no prospect of fans returning to stadiums in those areas. 

On the other hand, all Premier League teams in London and the south east will be able to welcome back 2,000 supporters from December 2 after they were placed in Tier 2. 

The majority of Premier League teams unable to welcome back fans are in the north of the UK

Teams in the Midlands have also been hit by their districts being put under the highest warning levels, with Aston Villa, West Brom and Wolves all unable to open their gates, along with Leicester.

However, Liverpool – where mass testing saw a huge decrease in cases – is the exception to the rule, with the northern city placed under Tier 2 restrictions only. 

On the whole, though, supporters have detected a familiar pattern and have levelled accusations of a clear bias against cities in the north of the country.

And many took to social media to voice their unhappiness at the apparent disparities in the treatment of cities in the north and south of the UK – with some of those areas in the north actually showing a lower R rate than those in the south.

Many teams in London and the South East can welcome back 2,000 fans from next week

Many teams in London and the South East can welcome back 2,000 fans from next week

The R rate is the rate of infection, and measures how quickly the virus is spreading from person-to-person in that region. 

Matt Beeves, responding to a thread on restrictions in Newcastle, said: ‘The divide between North and South East has never been wider… disgrace.’  

Stuart Heald pointed out on Twitter that the returning of fans to some stadiums gives those home clubs an ‘unfair advantage’.

‘Premier League can’t allow the unfair advantage of some clubs having fans some still playing to empty stadiums,’ he stated.

And user @DavidFagan4 made the same point, saying the ability for some grounds to have fans ‘completely ruins the integrity of the competition.  

User @Kevsafc22 pointed out that London’s R rate is higher than that in the North East. He wrote: ‘Higher R rate in London than the North East and Greater Manchester. There’s no North South divide at all…’

Current government data shows that the R rate in the North East is between 1.0 and 1.1, while in the North West it’s between 0.8 and 1.0.

London’s rate of infection is higher than both, with the rate between 1.0 and 1.2. Despite this, the city’s capital has been placed under more lenient measures.

The majority of fans, though, are concerned about the lack of a level playing field – and concerns over the unfair advantage of fans have been widely voiced. 

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