FA Cup semi-final at Wembley will be one of the pilot events for the crowds to return

FA Cup semi-final at Wembley will be one of the pilot events for the crowds to return

Wembley hosted games behind closed doors

One of the FA Cup semi-finals next month at Wembley will be among the pilot events to test the return of large crowds to UK venues.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has told BBC sports editor Dan Roan that a match on April 17 or 18 will be part of the tryout schedule.

The FA Cup final and the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield are also on the program.

“We want to bring as many people back as safe as possible,” Dowden said.

The semi-final between Chelsea and Manchester City will be broadcast live on BBC One and the BBC iPlayer on Saturday April 17, with Leicester v Southampton the following day.

Dowden also said more pilot events would be announced later this week after the government confirmed that the next step in the planned easing of restrictions on April 12 is on track.

The next stage, scheduled for May 17, would allow the stadiums to open with a capacity limit of 25%, up to a maximum of 10,000 spectators.

The current plan then calls for the lifting of all restrictions on social contacts on June 21.

“We want it to be as easy and convenient as possible for people. That’s why we’re doing these pilots, ”said Dowden.

“The plan is to look at factors like one-way systems, the ventilation in a stadium and how you interact in terms of entering and leaving the venue. “

BBC Sport understands that there will be up to 4,000 spectators at one of Wembley’s semi-finals and that the following weekend the Carabao Cup final could test a double participation.

The possibility of having 20,000 supporters in the FA Cup final on May 15 is being explored by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) and the Football Federation. These proposals will need to be approved by the Brent Council.

“The point of this isn’t so much the overall number, it’s the way they interact with each other,” added Dowden.

“So it’s the social distance they have from each other. These are the behavioral factors.

“We’re going to test them before and after to look at the spread and see how they behave in the stadium.

“We don’t just get everyone into the stadiums, it’s done in a very controlled way and the aim is to set the rules to make it as safe as possible from June 21. “

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