EFL release further information on the return of Blackpool, Sunderland, Lincoln City and Oxford United fans for League One play-offs

The EFL has provided further details on the imminent return of fans for the upcoming play-offs.

Tuesday, 11th May 2021, 12:16 pm
Updated Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 9:58 am

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Blackpool to be boosted by return of fans for play-off clash against Oxford Unit...

Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed in his latest public briefing yesterday that further easing of lockdown restrictions will go ahead as planned.

That means a limited number of spectators will be able to attend sporting events from May 17 onwards, with the PM proclaiming the turnstiles will be “unlocked” after a season of playing games behind closed doors.

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While Blackpool are due to confirm official details this week, it’s understood around 4,000 Seasiders will be able to attend the second leg of their play-off semi-final against Oxford United at Bloomfield Road.

It will be the first time Pool fans have been allowed inside the ground since September 2020, when 1,000 Seasiders attended the pilot event against Swindon Town.

It also means Sunday’s final-day win against Bristol Rovers should be the last time Blackpool play a competitive game in front of empty terraces.

Neil Critchley’s side travel to the Kassam Stadium on Tuesday, May 18 (6pm kick-off) for the first leg after beating Bristol Rovers 1-0 on Sunday to secure third place in the table.

Fans will return to Bloomfield Road for the first time since September 2020

Oxford, meanwhile, leapfrogged Portsmouth into sixth place after thrashing Burton Albion 4-0, while Pompey were beaten 1-0 at home by Accrington Stanley.

The all-important second leg will be hosted at Bloomfield Road on Friday, May 21 (7.45pm kick-off).

Sunderland take on Lincoln City in the other semi-final clash, with all four ties screened live on Sky Sports.

Under the government’s roadmap out of lockdown, 10,000 fans will be allowed to attend sporting events from May 17 onwards, or alternatively 25 per cent of your capacity - whichever is lower.

In a statement released this lunchtime, the EFL confirmed the return of supporters will go ahead as planned after receiving the green light from the government.

Clubs involved in the play-offs are now in discussions with their local Safety Advisory Groups to determine the exact number of supporters that will be able to attend. Ticket details will then be announced in due course.

As suspected, no away fans will be permitted to attend the semi-final ties.

The EFL said in a statement: “Clubs will now be able to legally welcome fans back into EFL stadia for these vital fixtures, marking another welcome milestone along the road to full return of fans.

“EFL clubs will now determine with the relevant local Safety Advisory Groups the exact number of supporters that will be able to attend each fixture in line with national guidelines. Announcements on ticketing will be made by individual Clubs in due course.

“Given the operational challenges clubs would face hosting both home and away supporters, it has been agreed that there will be no away fans in attendance during the play-off semi-finals.

“Fans of eventual play-off finalists will be permitted to attend the EFL’s showpiece finals scheduled to kick off at the end of the month.”

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