LONDON: English professional football has welcomed the UK government’s decision to allow full stadiums again from the start of the new season next month.

This follows an announcement from Prime Minister Boris Johnson that most of the remaining coronavirus restrictions will be lifted from July 19. A final decision will be made on July 12.

A full football stadium has not been seen in the UK since before the pandemic began in March 2020.

The government also announced that Covid passports would not be required by law to dictate entry to events, but that organisations could opt to use them.

A Premier League statement said: “Fans have been hugely missed so we welcome today’s announcement by the Government, and are looking forward to full stadiums in the 2021-22 season.

“As we move towards a Government decision on Step 4 of the roadmap and beyond, we will continue to work with football stakeholders and relevant public authorities to ensure that the return to full capacity is done in a way that keeps everyone safe.”

The new Premier League season begins on Friday, August 13, with promoted Brentford hosting Arsenal.

As well as the top-flight welcoming the decision, Football League chief executive Trevor Birch said: “The EFL welcomes today’s positive announcement . . . which will allow us to finally press forward with our plans to see a full return of fans to EFL stadiums from the start of the new season in just four weeks’ time.

“Football has been planning for this outcome since the outset of the pandemic and having been forced to endure empty stadiums since March 2020, the message from EFL Clubs is that we are ready to re-open and welcome fans back in numbers. ”