EXCLUSIVE: Fans will return to football – the biggest football since Covid – for the Wembley FA Cup semi-finals on April 18, with 4,000 spectators, but Leicester City and Southampton fans will NOT receive resident-only tickets
- The FA Cup semi-final is a pilot event that tests how crowds can safely return to the venues
- The government has stressed that the events are scientific tests of the protocols
- Hopefully the testing program will allow large crowds later this summer
- Carabao Cup, FA Cup Finals and Snooker World Championships are also testing events
The FA Cup semi-final between Leicester City and Southampton was selected by the government as the first football test event for fans to return.
The April 18 game will be played in front of 4,000 spectators at Wembley, who are expected to live in the Brent district and not spectators from the clubs.
Health care workers can also be invited to attend the event. This is the first step in bringing large crowds – and even houses full – back to sporting events later this summer or next season.
Fans are admitted to Wembley for the semi-finals between Leicester and Southampton
The government has stressed that the pilot events are aimed at investigating how people can be protected en masse rather than giving fans of the clubs a chance to see their teams in action.
However, it is hoped that the results of this and the other pilot projects that will take place in April and May will result in significant numbers in the final stages of Euro 2020.
The government is expected to announce a list of around 14 pilot events soon. The FA Cup semi-finals will be one of the first. Also on the list are the Carabao Cup Final on April 25th between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City and the FA Cup Final on May 15th, as well as the World Snooker Championships at The Crucible in Sheffield, starting on April 17th.
Whitehall sources emphasize that fans will not be put at risk in the test events
In addition, a horse racing meeting, as well as other cultural and business events, will be added to the list as officials investigate security procedures in different settings.
THE NEW FRONTIERS FROM MAY 17TH
As of May 17, a maximum of 1,000 spectators or half of their capacity will be allowed indoors, if that number is lower.
Outdoor events allow a maximum of 4,000 fans or half the capacity of a venue (whichever is lower).
However, the largest stadiums like Wembley allow a maximum of 10,000 fans or a quarter of the capacity, whichever is lower.
In the largest stadiums with a capacity of more than 16,000, such as B. Wembley and Premier League football fields, but a maximum of 10,000 fans or a quarter of the capacity, whichever is lower.
Government and sport are inevitably determined to proceed cautiously, with scientists setting the pace.
However, the numbers are expected to increase as the pilots progress, with the possibility that the FA Cup final could be played in front of 20,000 spectators.
According to reports, Wembley is hoping to host 45,000 fans in the 90,000-seat arena for the semi-finals and the Euro 2022 final, which would be considered a huge success.
But for the FA Cup semi-finals, the officials simply want to look at the flow of people in and out of the stadium, rather than introduce the added complication of fans traveling long distances to get to the game.
The game between Leicester and Southampton has the added advantage that neither side is based in London. The other semi-final will take place on April 17th between Chelsea and Manchester City.
The pilots are all designed to test different aspects of events and the details are still being worked out. The lateral flow antigen test, which determines if a person has coronavirus, is seen as an aspect that scientists want to investigate, but it is not clear how that is introduced.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s roadmap to lift lockdown restrictions calls for May 17th as the date hopefully up to 10,000 fans can return to the venues, depending on their size.
The next deadline after that is June 21, when the government stated that all restrictions may possibly be lifted, but only where it is safe to do so. The government will closely monitor infection rates, hospital stays and deaths from Covid to decide whether to take the final step and end all lockdown measures.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s timetable includes the possibility of full houses after June 21st
On the basis of the 13 pilot events, it is analyzed whether a combination of vaccination and test, among other things, effectively prevents the spread of the coronavirus at events.
A report will be sent to ministers at the end of May that will help them decide whether restrictions should be further eased in June.
This will be a critical time for England’s “great summer of sport,” which will include seven Euro 2020 games to be played at Wembley, including England’s group and semi-finals and finals, and Wimbledon, a full program of international cricket, the British Grand Prix and The Open Golf.
The FA Cup semi-finals have been added to a list of events to steer the return of fans