The FA Cup semi-final between Leicester City and Southampton has been chosen by the government as the first football test event for the return of fans.
The game on April 18 will be played in front of 4,000 people at Wembley Stadium, who will be residents and workers in the Brent district, rather than spectators of the clubs.
Health workers, municipal staff and teachers, as well as residents, will be invited to attend the event, which is the first step towards returning crowds – and even crowded houses – to sporting events later in the summer or next season.
They will also be invited to the Carabao Cup final on April 25th.
The FA Cup semi-final between Leicester City and Southampton has been selected as a Covid test event, but fans of the respective clubs will not be able to attend.
Fans are allowed into Wembley for the semi-final between Leicester and Southampton
The government has emphasized that the pilot events are intended to explore how people can stay safe in the crowds, and not to give club supporters a chance to see their teams in action.
However, the hope is that the results of this and the other pilots, which will take place in April and May, will lead to significant numbers in the final stages of Euro 2020.
The government is expected to release a list of approximately 14 pilot events shortly. The FA Cup semi-final is one of the first. The list also includes the Carabao Cup final between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City and the FA Cup final on May 15, as well as the World Snooker Championship at The Crucible in Sheffield, which starts on April 17.
Whitehall sources insist that fans are not at risk during the testing events
WHO CAN GO TO THE FA CUP SEMI-FINAL?
Brent Council, the London authority dealing with Wembley, wrote a letter to residents this week asking them to express their interest in attending the FA Cup semi-finals and the Carabao Cup final.
For the FA Cup semi-finals on April 18, tickets will only be allocated locally, including Brent Council staff, those working in the health sector, teachers, students over the age of 18 and residents of Wembley Park, which is apartment blocks surrounding the stadium.
“These groups were chosen because they are largely already in regular testing regimens,” said Brent Council.
The council said that every participant must return a negative COVID-19 test 24 hours before attending the game and show evidence to gain entry. They will also need to do a home PCR test after the event.
Each successful applicant will receive two tickets for each match. The League Cup final is on April 25.
The circular, published online, states that the council is supporting the government and the Football Association ‘to develop a series of pilot events at Wembley Stadium to test how major stadium events can be safely reopened to the public in accordance with the roadmap of the government to open this summer ‘.
In addition, a horse racing event will also be included on the list, as will other cultural and business events, as officials investigate safety procedures in different settings.
Inevitably, government and sports are determined to proceed with caution, with scientists setting the pace.
However, it is expected that as the pilots progress, the numbers will increase with the possibility that the FA Cup final could be played in front of 20,000 people.
Wembley is reportedly hoping to allow 45,000 fans into the 90,000-seat arena for the Euro 2022 semifinal and final, which would be considered a major achievement.
But for the FA Cup semi-finals, officials just want to watch the flow of people going in and out of the stadium and don’t want to introduce the added complication of fans running long distances to the game.
The Leicester-Southampton match has the added advantage that neither team is based in London. The other semi-final is between Chelsea and Manchester City on April 17th.
The pilots are all designed to test different aspects of events and the details are still being worked out, lateral flow antigen testing, which determines whether a person has coronavirus, is considered an aspect that scientists want to look at, but it is not clear how that. will be entered.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s roadmap to lift lockout restrictions aims May 17 as the date it is hoped that up to 10,000 fans will be able to return to venues, depending on their size.
The next key date after that is June 21, when the government has said it is possible for all restrictions to be lifted, but only where it is safe to do so. The government will closely monitor Covid’s contamination rates, hospitalizations and deaths, while deciding whether to take the final step and end all lockdown measures.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s roadmap creates the possibility of packed houses after June 21
The 13 pilot events will be used to analyze whether a combination of vaccination and testing, among other things, is effective in preventing the spread of coronavirus at events.
A report will be sent to ministers at the end of May, which will help them decide whether to ease restrictions further in June.
This will be a critical period for England’s ‘great summer of sports’, which will include seven Euro 2020 matches played at Wembley Stadium, including the England group matches and the semi-finals and finals, as well as Wimbledon, a full program of international cricket. , the British Grand Prix and The Open golf.
The FA Cup Semi-Final has been added to a list of events to test the return of fans