Fans to miss out again with London set to move into tier three on Wednesday

Sport in London will have to move back behind closed doors after the capital was placed into the highest tier of coronavirus restrictions.

Only a fortnight ago it was announced that up to 2,000 fans were allowed into football matches for the first time since March, when London was initially placed in Tier 2 following the second lockdown.

But the move into Tier 3 from Wednesday means the capital’s stadiums will once again be empty.

West Ham hosted 2,000 fans when they played Manchester United at the London Stadium last weekend, but their home match against Crystal Palace on Wednesday night will be behind closed doors, as will the matches at Arsenal and Fulham.

In fact the only midweek Premier League fixture to have a crowd will be the top-of-the-table clash at Anfield, when Liverpool meet Tottenham.

As of Wednesday only Liverpool, Everton, Brighton and Southampton in the top flight will be allowed 2,000 fans, until the restrictions are eased.

The William Hill World Darts Championship, at London’s Alexandra Palace, planned to have 1,000 fans in attendance every day.

The sport’s biggest event begins on Tuesday but will have to be a fan-free zone by Wednesday.

On Monday morning defending champion Peter Wright had spoken about the prospect of playing in front of the event’s trademark raucous crowd.

William Hill World Championship – Day Eleven – Alexandra Palace
William Hill World Championship – Day Eleven – Alexandra Palace

He said: “I am definitely looking forward to it, defending champion as well is going to be pretty special.

“The most important thing is that it is near Christmas and I get to go out in my Christmas outfit, up on stage in front of 1,000 people in the crowd, that is going to be more special, really, really special.

“You couldn’t have it anywhere else really. If they had it at Milton Keynes or Coventry I would have gone nuts, I would have put myself in the loony bin.”

August’s World Snooker Championship had a small crowd for just one day before a tightening of the restrictions forced it back behind closed doors.

Current tournaments are taking place without spectators in Milton Keynes, but it is hoped that the Masters in January, also at Alexandra Palace, can allow 1,000 fans in.

In rugby union London Irish, who play at Brentford’s new stadium, have confirmed tickets for their European Challenge Cup tie against Pau next Sunday have been taken off sale.