Sunderland's Stadium of Light set to welcome full complement of Portsmouth fans as no away supporter caps recommended by safety panel
Visitors from Sunderland’s League One rivals Portsmouth and Coventry were limited to just 2,000 and 1,500, respectively for last term’s (2019/20) fixtures on Wearside ‘in an effort to reduce the risk to public safety’.
But city bosses are expected to drop the restriction when they meet to approve the renewal of the safety certificate for the club’s home ground on Monday, August 10.
The proposal will cap attendances at 48,339 for non-segregated matches and 48,095 segregated ties, the same as last year.
According to a report for Sunderland City Council’s Licensing and Regulatory Committee: “Since the grant of the last certificate, no physical changes affecting stadium capacity have been carried out.
“Due to the Covid 19 outbreak, it is anticipated that the 2020/2021 season will be played behind closed doors for a period of time before spectators are allowed back into the venue.
“No timescales are currently available for the reintroduction of spectators into this type of venue.”
The English Football League has confirmed the League One season will kick-off on the weekend of September 12 and is expected to finish by May 9.
Fixtures are yet to be confirmed, but Portsmouth could be allowed to bring a full complement of away fans when they visit the Stadium of Light.
Numbers were restricted last season on the recommendation of police following concerns about disturbances at games between the two clubs in 2018/19.
The same was applied to Coventry, but the Sky Blues were promoted to the Championship in June under the ‘points per game’ system.
The report adds that although the safety certificate may be granted, grounds will still have to comply with social distancing rules and other regulations linked to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The report adds: “In order to allow spectators back into the venue and enable the club to comply with social distancing guidelines it is likely that the capacity will need to be reduced.”