'No singing or hugging' as fans return to Premier League games

West Ham clash against Manchester United the first Premier League game to welcome back supporters

Plymouth fans ahead of the Sky Bet League One match at Home Park, Plymouth. PA Photo. Picture date: Saturday December 5, 2020. See PA story SOCCER Plymouth. Photo credit should read: Simon Galloway/PA Wire. 

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Premier League chiefs have warned fans to avoid "excessive singing" and hugging as supporters returned to English top-flight matches for the first time since March on Saturday.

England's coronavirus restrictions have seen fans banned from sporting venues until now.

On Saturday, West Ham were set to become the first to host a top-flight match with spectators present in their clash with Manchester United.

Government restrictions mean just 2,000 fans will be allowed to watch the match at the London Stadium.

Chelsea's game against Leeds at Stamford Bridge, will also have 2,000 fans present.

The Premier League issued advice on safety measures on Saturday, including a warning for fans not to get carried away when their team scores a goal.

"Fans can celebrate but should remain socially distanced from people outside their social bubble," said the advice.

"Hugging of other fans and high-fives should be avoided and fans are asked to be respectful to those around them, including avoiding excessive shouting or singing."

The statement from the Premier League said clubs had missed the presence of fans, who have been absent since the coronavirus shutdown in March.

Supporters have to complete a health questionnaire and face temperature checks at the ground. They also have to wear face coverings.

Fans will sit in socially distanced seats, except for families or "household bubbles".

London and Liverpool are among the areas to have been placed into England's Tier-2 category based on Covid-19 rates, meaning up to 2,000 fans will be able to attend matches.

But clubs based in Tier-3 areas, such as Manchester and Birmingham, which have a higher number of cases, are still not allowed to open their gates.

Earlier, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta praised returning supporters for making a "huge difference" to his team as they eased to a Europa League victory over Rapid Vienna.

Two-thousand fans were in attendance at the Emirates Stadium for the first time in nine months and witnessed the Gunners storm to a 4-1 win.

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