A limited number of spectators are set to return to sporting events in the UK, with pilot events being planned at London’s Wembley Stadium, beginning with the FA Cup Semi-Final fixture between Leicester City and Southampton on April 18.
Brent council in England confirmed to CNN that email invites have been issued to locals in the Wembley Park area to register interest in attending the FA Cup semi-final fixture, as well as the Carabao Cup final between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City on Sunday April 25, at Wembley Stadium.
The email confirmed socially distanced spectators will be allowed in to each pilot event with local care staff, local school teachers and pupils over 18, Wembley Park residents are top of the list as they are ‘”already in regular testing regimes.”
The events are expected to be attended by about 4000 fans – part of the UK government’s roadmap plan to reopen which was announced in February and is ahead of schedule.
In the largest outdoor seated venues, where crowds can be spread out, up to 10,000 people will be able to attend (or a quarter-full, whichever is lower.)
Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers welcomed the reports when asked in a news conference on Thursday.
“It’s great news,” he said, “4000 (fans) in a 90,000+ stadium will look small, but I think it’s the access for supporters. Of course, both teams would have loved it to have been their own supporters, given the opportunity, but at least we were making movements towards supporters coming back, so that’s great news.”
The FA Cup semi-final fixture will mark the first return of spectators to UK sporting venues since the tier system was scrapped in December and will be seen as a positive step with European football’s showpiece event, the European Championship set to host it’s semi-final and final fixtures at Wembley Stadium in July.
CNN has reached out to England’s Football Association for comment.