Football, darts and rugby fans are among those who will miss out on watching sport in venues as London and parts of the south east will move into Tier 3 of coronavirus restrictions from Wednesday.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed in the House of Commons on Monday that London and other parts of the south east will move into the highest level of coronavirus restrictions from 00.01am on Wednesday, due to a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases in London, Kent, parts of Essex and Hertfordshire.
Up to 2,000 fans were allowed into football matches for the first time since March when London was initially placed in Tier 2 a fortnight ago following the second lockdown.
Premier League fixtures in London on Wednesday, including Arsenal vs Southampton, Fulham vs Brighton and West Ham vs Crystal Palace, were all due to permit a limited amount of fans in, but will now be played behind closed doors.
Arsenal confirmed no fans will be in attendance, saying: “We are disappointed to confirm that we are no longer able to welcome fans to Emirates Stadium for our Premier League fixture against Southampton on Wednesday.”
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 lifted.
Southend, QPR, Watford and Charlton are among the EFL sides who play home games with fans in attendance in London on Tuesday as initially planned.
World Darts Champs, Champions Cup to be without fans
The World Darts Championship, live on Sky Sports, at London’s Alexandra Palace, had planned to have 1,000 fans in attendance but the sport’s biggest event, which begins on Tuesday, will now also be largely a fan-free zone.
Fans will only be present at Alexandra Palace for day one of the World Championship before restrictions come into force.
Harlequins fans will not be permitted to attend their Champions Cup clash against Racing 92 on Sunday or their Gallagher Premiership fixture against Bristol Bears a week later.
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.
London-based racegoers will also not be able to attend racing events such as Ascot this weekend or the King George Boxing Day fixture at Kempton.
The move into Tier 3 to will see thousands of bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants close in the capital, except for takeaway, delivery and click and collect services.
Under Tier 3 measures, people must not meet socially indoors, in private gardens, or at most outdoors public venues with anyone they do not live with or are not in a support bubble with.