Sunderland AFC gets go-ahead to admit 48,000 fans into Stadium of Light as safety certificate approved
Sunderland AFC has been given the go-ahead to admit more than 48,000 fans into the Stadium of Light for the first time in 17 months.
Sunderland City Council leaders have confirmed the Stadium of Light will be able to host up to 48,339 supporters in the coming season, as fans look forward to returning to the ground for the 2021/22 campaign.
It comes after the Covid-19 pandemic meant the stadium was not able to operate at full capacity throughout the 2020/21 season.
Councillors on the city council’s licensing and regulatory committee approved the renewal of the ground’s safety certificate on Monday (August 2) which outlines how many fans can attend games in the 2021/22 season.
The Safety at Sports Grounds Act 1975 means any ground with a capacity of more than 10,000 needs to have a General Safety Certificate signed off by the local authority.
The panel agreed to renew the ground’s safety certificate for the 2021/22 season, capping attendances at 48,339 for non-segregated matches and 48,095 segregated ties, the same as last year.
This came after it was confirmed no physical changes affecting stadium capacity had been carried out.
Council officers said it is anticipated spectators will be allowed back into the venue up to the agreed maximum capacity for the 2021/2022 season, but this is subject to there being no further changes in Covid-19 guidance.
According to officers: “Notwithstanding that, we have provision to be able to respond to any potential future Covid-19 restrictions that could be imposed by the governing body or the Government.”
Many supporters returned to the Stadium of Light for the first time in over a year on Friday as Lee Johnson’s side picked up a 2-1 win against Hull City in a friendly at the ground.
Some Black Cats supporters were able to attend the second leg of last season’s play-off semi-final against Lincoln, and many more are set to be welcomed back during the 2021/22 campaign.
Sunderland begin their season with a game at the Stadium of Light against Wigan Athletic on Saturday, the first league game with the ground at full capacity since March 7, 2020.