The new rules Sunderland fans will have to follow as they return to the Stadium of Light today
Sunderland fans are set to return to the Stadium of Light today – but the match day experience will naturally be very different.
Tickets for the play-off semi-final second leg tie with Lincoln City on Saturday, May 22 will go on sale today (May 12) to 2020/21 season ticket holders.
10,000 seats are available for supporters, and 2021/22 season ticket holders will be able to purchase tickets from Friday morning should any remain available.
And while fans are naturally excited to return to the Stadium of Light for the first time since March 2020, there will be a host of new rules and guidelines to follow for those attending the fixture.
Here’s some of the key changes that supporters will need to be aware of:
Negative tests and temperature checks
Sunderland AFC say that supporters will NOT need to present proof of a negative test, a COVID-19 vaccination certificate or undergo a temperature check prior to gaining entry to the Stadium of Light for this fixture.
However, the Supporters’ Charter produced for the fixture says that those attending the game are ‘encouraged’ to take a lateral flow test the day before the fixture.
The club say they will ‘continue to monitor and implement guidance from Public Health England and the Safety Advisory Group’ on this matter.
All match tickets for this game will be sold online, with the club’s ticket office not accepting phone calls or in-person visits.
And supporters should also be aware that no physical tickets will be distributed for the game, with digital tickets instead being emailed to those who succeed in gaining a ticket.
Fans will then have to either display these tickets via a mobile device or print them off and present them at the turnstiles.
Arrival at the Stadium of Light
Supporters will be given an entry point and time of arrival, which they must adhere to. Turnstiles will open 90 minutes prior to kick-off with staggered entry times from that point.
Fans are advised to arrive in ‘good time to go through all necessary entry procedures’ and are asked to follow instructions from stewards while taking note of signage and floor markings.
Food and drink
Sunderland AFC have confirmed that no food and drink kiosks will be open for this fixture.
Supporters are therefore allowed to bring food and drink into the stadium in a clear, plastic bag – but alcohol is prohibited.
Face masks and hygiene
Fans have been asked to wear their face covering at all times when arriving at the Stadium of Light, during the match and when exiting the stadium – other than where exemptions apply.
The Black Cats also say that sanitiser dispensers will be available throughout the ground.
During the match
Fans are asked to avoid ‘unnecessary movement’ during the game, and will have to follow a one-way system if they need to access facilities such as the toilets.
Close physical contact – such as hugs, handshakes and celebrations with those not in your bubble – must be avoided at all times.
Supporters are also asked not to touch the match ball should it enter the stands.
Leaving the Stadium of Light
Sunderland have requested that supporters remain in the ground until full-time.
At this point, stewards will direct fans to their relevant exit route.