FA Cup semi-final, Carabao Cup final and FA Cup final CONFIRMED as first three Wembley test events with 4,000 fans set to return for Leicester vs Southampton on April 18… and May 15 will see 21,000 descend on stadium for English football’s showpiece
- Three major football events at Wembley will be used as pilot schemes this year
- The Carabao Cup and FA Cup finals, and one FA Cup semi-final all act as trials
- 4,000 spectators will return to the stadium in April for Leicester v Southampton
- On May 15, for the FA Cup final, there will be 21,000 people allowed in the venue
The Carabao Cup final, the second FA Cup semi-final and the FA Cup final will serve as Wembley pilot events for the government’s ‘Covid status certification’ scheme.
The plan is to enable the safe return of mass gatherings and indoor events as lockdown restrictions ease in England, with officials preparing a series of trial events over the coming months as they look to find a way for fans to return to sporting venues.
As exclusively revealed by Sportsmail, the FA Cup semi-final between Leicester and Southampton at the national stadium on April 18 will see football fans return for the first time since December, with 4,000 fans able to attend.
One FA Cup semi-final, and the Carabao Cup and FA Cup finals will act as Wembley test events
The pilots are set to play a crucial role in the government’s ‘Covid status certification’ scheme’
Manchester City face Tottenham in the Carabao Cup final seven days later with 8,000 fans watching and the month-long scheme will conclude with the FA Cup final on May 15, when 21,000 fans will be attending.
The World Snooker Championship at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield – running from April 17 to May 3 – is the first sporting event to be included in the trial and will have 1,000 spectators per day while there will also be a mass participation run at Hatfield House on April 24 and 25.
In developing the scheme, officials will take into account three factors – whether an individual has received the vaccine, has recently tested negative for the virus, or has ‘natural immunity’ having tested positive in the previous six months.
The NHS is said to be currently working on ways of providing people with the means to demonstrate their Covid status through ‘digital and non-digital routes’.
Manchester City, who won the Carabao Cup in 2019, will play Tottenham in front of 8,000 fans
The national stadium features heavily in the effort to ensure the safe return of mass gatherings
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: ‘We have made huge strides over the past few months with our vaccine programme and everyone in the country has made huge sacrifices to get us to this stage in our recovery from Covid-19.
‘We are doing everything we can to enable the reopening of our country so people can return to the events, travel and other things they love as safely as possible, and these reviews will play an important role in allowing this to happen.’
Mark Bullingham, the FA CEO, says he is even optimistic that full grounds will be permitted later this year.
‘This is an important first step towards getting fans back, with the end goal of full stadia – hopefully by the end of the Men’s Euros,’ he said.
17 April-3 May: Snooker World Championships, Crucible Theatre, Sheffield – Up to 1,000 people a day (indoor seated)
18 April: FA Cup semi-final (Leicester v Southampton), Wembley – 4,000 (outdoor seated)
24-25 April: Three 10k runs, Hatfield Park – 3,000 people and up to 3,000 spectators at each event (outdoor, mass participation run)
25 April: Carabao Cup final (Manchester City v Tottenham), Wembley – 8,000 people (outdoor, seated)
15 May: FA Cup Final (TBD), Wembley – 21,000 people (outdoor, seated)