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Lampard: Clubs with fans have unfair advantage

Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard has said football should be exempt from government COVID-19 rules banning crowds and claims allowing fans in some stadiums has created an unfair advantage for certain Premier League teams.

Under the United Kingdom’s existing three-tiered system, clubs located in Tier 1 and Tier 2 are allowed 4,000 or 2,000 supporters respectfully up to a maximum of 50% capacity.

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At the time of inception at the beginning of the month, half of the 20 Premier League clubs were able to welcome back supporters.

London was originally placed in Tier 2 with Chelsea welcoming supporters back to Stamford Bridge for two home games last week, against Leeds United in the Premier League and their final Champions League Group E match against Krasnodar.

However, health secretary Matt Hancock is expected to confirm on Monday that London will go into Tier 3 and Lampard voiced his concerns over what he perceives is a step backwards in the progress football has made in responding to COVID-19.

“I think if it comes in it will be difficult [to adjust back to empty stadiums] and I’m slightly disappointed,” Lampard told a news conference. “Even though we are in Tier 2 and have had fans in for a game already, I did feel it should have been a level playing field.

“If some clubs can have them and some can’t, we’ve seen I think already, I felt it on the pitch, the backing they give you and what it does to the game. I think that should be pretty level.

“I also think we can really — I’m not telling the government what to do but – control 2,000 fans coming into the stadium, if they are coming from within their tier or however you want to do that to keep things moving along. So it is unfortunate to say the least.

“Let’s get it right: we are making it up as we go along. That’s not to sound critical, that’s just a fact because we’ve never been in this position before. I think when you are talking about if clubs can control that situation, I think they’ve shown it so far that they can.

“So, I would like to think there could be something done to make it exempt where we can get that 2,000 number in. But that goes above my station, I’m just saying what I think.”

Christian Pulisic is fit again after sustaining a slight hamstring injury but Lampard has not yet decided whether he will start Tuesday’s game at Wolves.

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