NCFC fixtures: How many fans could be at City’s opener against Liverpool?
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The Premier League fixtures have been released but Norwich City fans are still unsure how many spectators will be inside Carrow Road when Liverpool arrive for the 2021-22 opener.
Other than four games last year with a maximum of 2,000 season ticket holders, the Canaries have been playing home games behind closed doors since a 1-0 win over Leicester at the end of February 2020.
It’s understood that City are hoping to have one Carrow Road friendly during pre-season to prepare for the return of a higher number of spectators.
Liverpool are provisionally due to arrive on Saturday, August 14, but television selections are yet to be announced.
Trips to Manchester City and Arsenal either side of a home clash with Leicester follow for Daniel Farke’s promoted squad.
The Canaries have already been dealing with the loss of around £30million in expected income due to the Covid-19 pandemic and that figure will continue to grow if full capacities aren’t allowed from the start of the campaign.
City are thought to have been budgeting for full capacities to be allowed from the start of the new season but after a four-week delay to the end of lockdown restrictions, until July 19, was announced on Monday there is fresh uncertainty.
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A maximum of 10,000 fans had returned for the end of the last top-flight season and the rearranged League Cup final at Wembley, with 20,000 allowed at Wembley for the FA Cup final in mid-May.
That gradual easing continues this summer with the national stadium set to be allowed 40,000 fans for its final four European Championship fixtures, as part of 20 pilot events across sport and entertainment including the Wimbledon tennis finals and the Silverstone grand prix.
England's group games at the Euros had already been included on the government's extended events research programme and will continue to be played in front of crowds of 22,500, which is 25 per cent of capacity, ahead of Wembley being increased to 50pc capacity.
The group games require ticket holders to provide proof of full vaccination or a recent negative Covid-19 test result and it's unclear how those elements will develop.
For those events which are not part of trials, the rules will remain as they have since May 17 and remain in place until July 19 at the earliest.
For outdoor venues with a seated capacity of 16,000 or above, the limit is 10,000 or 25 per cent of capacity, whichever is lowest.
Carrow Road can host just over 27,000 so that would work out to around 7,000 but as the government ramps up the vaccination programme to try and thwart the spread of the Delta variant, there can be no certainty at this stage.