Fans return to stadium in England for first time in almost six months

A general view inside the Amex Stadium during the friendly match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Chelsea in Brighton, Britain – August 29, 2020, as fans are allowed into a stadium following the outbreak of the COVID-19. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Soccer fans in England were on Saturday allowed into a Premier League stadium for the first time in nearly six months to watch a friendly game pitting Brighton and Hove Albion against Chelsea.

2,500 home fans were allowed into the Amex Stadium to watch the game, as part of a government trial for a possible return of spectators into sporting facilities staring October.

Fans have not been allowed into stadiums since sporting activities were suspended in March due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.K.

Soccer resumed in June behind closed doors as the government sought to prevent a possible second wave of virus infections.

In the game at the Amex Stadium, Brighton held Chelsea to a 1-1 draw, as Pascal Gross netted a penalty late in the game to cancel out a Timo Werner 4th minute lead.

After the game, the Seagulls’ manager Graham Potter hailed the return of fans, saying he hoped it laid the foundation for a possible return to normalcy soon.

““It was so nice to see fans here because as we know it brings a completely different dynamic to the stadium and I thought they made a lot of noise and really got involved in the game. Hopefully they enjoyed the performance as well,” Brighton and Hove Albion quotes Potter.

“I think people at the club deserve a lot of credit for the work that has gone in and hopefully it was the first successful step to a return to normal at some stage in the future.”