Arsenal confirm no fans to attend Leicester game as London clubs banned from having supporters in tier 3

Fans will be locked out of all London Premier League games over the festive period after it was placed under tier 3 restrictions along with areas of Hertfordshire and Essex, with the World Darts Championship also set to be staged behind closed doors.

Arsenal, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United have all been able to welcome back up to 2,000 supporters at home games this month, but health secretary Matt Hancock’s announcement confirming tougher measures on the capital means that they will have to close stadia once again for Wednesday’s mid-week fixtures just two weeks after they were allowed to open their doors.

Arsenal’s Premier League encounter against Leicester City was due to take place in front of 2,000 fans at the Emirates Stadium, but the club have confirmed that ticket holders will no longer be granted access to the match.

An Arsenal statement read: “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, December 16.”

Fulham’s match against Brighton and West Ham’s encounter with Crystal Palace will also take place behind closed doors, although clubs had paused ticket sales in the expectation that tougher measures were imminent.

The only Premier League clubs currently eligible to have fans in attendance are Liverpool, Everton, Brighton and Southampton, who remain in tier two areas, while Aston Villa, Burnley, Leicester, Leeds United, Manchester City, Manchester United, Newcastle United, Sheffield United, West Bromwich Albion and Wolves have not yet been allowed to welcome back supporters do to immediately entering tier 3 restrictions after the second national lockdown ended.

With areas of south-west Hertfordshire also included, Watford will no longer be able to host supporters at Championship games – although Tuesday’s match against Brentford at Vicarage Road will come before the tougher measures are enforced enabling the club to welcome up to 2,000 supporters as planned. Queens Park Rangers will also be able to welcome supporters for their Championship match with Stoke City before the measures come into place.

Premiership rugby club Harlequins will have to close the Twickenham Stoop to the public for Sunday’s Champions Cup clash against Racing 92.

The World Darts Championship, which is due to get under way at the Alexandra Palace on Tuesday until 3 January, was expecting to welcome 1,000 fans for each session over the next two weeks, but they will now be forced to stage matches without an audience in similar circumstances to the last five months – something that left reigning world champion Peter Wright admitted left him feeling depressed.

“I put on loads of weight – eating and drinking – it did my head in,” he said of playing without an audience. “I felt like ‘I don’t want to be here anymore’ and ‘it is a horrible place’, but you have to try and find little positives. You have got to try and stay around for your family and stuff like that.

“When I lost the Grand Slam, I just thought I could just walk away from game and not bother getting up the next day. But that is just me being selfish in my head – other people matter.”

Secretary of state for health Matt Hancock confirmed the news before MPs on Monday inside the House of Commons, where he laid out the need for tougher measures ahead of the Christmas period.

“We must act now to shift the curve because… there is not a moment to spare,” Mr Hancock said.

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