After the announcement of the tiering system in England, the possible effects are rippling across the major football clubs of the country.
These tiers have become especially relevant in the English Premier League, as it will divide it in two. These tiers are split into three levels, tier 1 being the least restrictive, and tier 3 being on high alert. The issue rising as a result of this is that not every club is under the same level of lockdown. Ten clubs have been placed under the umbrella of the tier-two restrictions, but the other ten remain under tier-three.
This is significant to the league,and for the tier-two clubs: Arsenal, Brighton, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Everton, Fulham, Liverpool, Southampton, Tottenham, and West Ham. Under the tier two restrictions, a maximum of 2,000 people will be allowed to once again watch the games live. For the remaining clubs however, including Aston Villa, Burnley, Leeds, Leicester, Manchester City, Manchester United, Newcastle, Sheffield United, and Wolves, they must meet the regulations of a tier-three restriction, meaning that they are still prohibited to have any fans present at their games.
The divide between the two sides of the league has provided a unique situation for the clubs involved. It is a well known fact of football that the fans are an extremely important part of the game, and to only allow half of the clubs to let them return has been heavily criticized by the football world. Leeds United’s manager, Marcelo Biesla, is among them. He believes that, though agreeing that the tier three restrictions put on his area are wise, it is unfair for those under tier two restrictions to allow fans back.
“It shouldn’t be about the category, or the consequences of being in a category, it should be about trying to maintain the competition as equal as possible with things that are controllable,” he stated.
As half of the league opens its doors once again, with Arsenal being the first club to welcome its fans back on Thursday, December the question must be raised. Is it truly fair for the clubs who are only limited by a tier-two restriction to let their fans return while those under a tier-three cannot?