Authorities having to hope infection rates fall significantly for the return of fans to be an option towards the end of the year

Credit: PA

A Telegraph study of infection-rate data has shown that only two clubs in the top four divisions of English football are located in an area where the Covid-19 infection rate is below 100 per 100,000 people.

That number could be key in deciding which areas of the country may have infection rates low enough to allow fans to return to outdoor stadiums to watch football and rugby games.

The Government is considering a surprise plan from ministers to allow supporters back at Premier League and Football League grounds by Christmas in areas with a low infection risk. But of the most recently verified weekly collated date which covers the week Nov 6-12, none of the Premier League clubs have an infection rate that is likely to be low enough to put them into a Tier 1 category if restrictions are eased, with authorities having to hope they fall significantly for the return of fans to be an option towards the end of the year. 

Worryingly, the R-rate remains above one in every region of the country – which means every person infected passes the virus on to more than one person and the pandemic is still growing – apart from the North West, where the case numbers remain among the highest in the country.

As things stand, in the top four divisions only League One’s Ipswich Town and League Two’s Colchester United have an infection rate below the 100 per 100,000 mark. 

Although infection numbers should start to fall as the impact of the national lockdown is felt over the next two weeks, the infection numbers per 100,000 people remain so high in the vast majority of towns and cities that they are likely to be placed into Tier 3 or a new Tier 4 when the national lockdown ends.

They would then be reassessed again two weeks later ahead of the busy Christmas fixture schedule, although many will be wary of the risks attached despite suggestions the Government is looking at ways to allow fans back into stadiums before the end of the year.

Infection rates per 100,000 people for week of Nov 6-12
Premier League 

  • Leicester City 528
  • West Brom 494
  • Leeds United 445
  • Newcastle United 445
  • Burnley 395
  • Manchester City 385
  • Aston Villa 381
  • Manchester United 361
  • Wolves 356
  • Sheffield United 304
  • Liverpool 292
  • Everton 292
  • West Ham 197
  • Chelsea 194
  • Fulham 194
  • Brighton 177
  • Arsenal 175
  • Crystal Palace 147
  • Tottenham Hotspur 146
  • Southampton 140

Championship

  • Blackburn 577
  • Huddersfield 551
  • Stoke 532
  • Middlesbrough 475
  • Bristol City 430
  • Birmingham 412
  • Barnsley 407
  • Derby 407
  • Rotherham 387
  • Preston 335
  • Sheffield Weds 317
  • Coventry 282
  • Luton 273
  • Nottingham Forest 267
  • Bournemouth 237
  • QPR 230
  • Swansea City 225
  • Watford 197
  • Brentford 190
  • Wycombe Wanderers 156
  • Cardiff 154
  • Reading 149
  • Norwich 145
  • Millwall 120

League One

  • Hull City 752
  • Rochdale 531
  • Lincoln City 439
  • Wigan Athletic 439
  • Burton Albion 435
  • Bristol Rovers 430
  • Sunderland 419
  • Accrington Stanley 379
  • Doncaster Rovers 364
  • Blackpool 304
  • Fleetwood Town 304
  • Gillingham 281
  • Northampton 277
  • Oxford United 259
  • Crewe Alexandra 250
  • Shrewsbury 250
  • Portsmouth 246
  • Plymouth Argyle 222
  • Peterborough United 218
  • Swindon 208
  • Wimbledon 184
  • MK Dons 170
  • Charlton Athletic 164
  • Ipswich 84

League Two

  • Oldham Athletic 598
  • Grimsby 545
  • Port Vale 544
  • Bradford City 532
  • Bolton Wanderers 449
  • Scunthorpe 433
  • Salford 426
  • Walsall 406
  • Mansfield 310
  • Harrogate Town 283
  • Cambridge 281
  • Leyton Orient 227
  • Carlisle United 214
  • Barrow 188
  • Tranmere Rovers 185
  • Forest Green Rovers 184
  • Southend 170
  • Stevenage 167
  • Crawley 161
  • Exeter 161
  • Newport County 160
  • Cheltenham 155
  • Morecambe 143
  • Colchester United 91