Sport events to host fans as part of new government pilot scheme

06 Apr 2021

By: Sport Industry Group

A number of sporting events will take place in front of fans in April and May as part of a new series staged to test the return of crowds.

The EFL's Carabao Cup final, the FA Cup final - as well as one semi-final - and the snooker World Championships will see limited numbers of fans in attendance, while a series of three 10k events organised by London Marathon Events will also test the return of mass participation, with some spectators also allowed to attend.

The programme will see venues asked to collect evidence and share best practice with the government and its scientific advisors, which will be used by other venues in future to allow even fuller capacity crowds to return. 

The government said the review will be ‘crucial’ to how venues could operate across the summer, with other events including comedy clubs also taking part in the scheme.

Researchers at the events will gather evidence on different approaches to managing and mitigating transmission risk, with the pilots also exploring how those different approaches to social distancing, ventilation and test-on-entry protocols could ease opening and maximise participation. 

Covid-status certifications will also be trialled as part of the pilot programme. 

“We are delighted to be hosting three test events at Wembley and are confident we can offer a safe environment,” said Mark Bullingham, CEO, The FA.

“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. We would like to thank all authorities for their support throughout this process.

Rick Parry, Chair, the EFL said: “The Carabao Cup is a prized asset of the EFL, a great competition for clubs to win and always a fantastic occasion so we are absolutely delighted to see supporters back for the showpiece final between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur, in what will hopefully be another important milestone along the way to a full return of fans.

Barry Hearn, Chairman, World Snooker, added: “We are delighted to be part of this Events Research Programme which will help illuminate the path for all of us back towards normal life, by using scientific data.

“This is not just about snooker, it is about hosting live events in indoor settings, so it will also help theatres, concerts and other parts of the entertainment industry. We are proud to have been selected and to play our part.”

One FA Cup semi-final - between Leicester and Southampton - which will take place at Wembley on 18th April, will see 4,000 fans in attendance, while the Carabao Cup final on 25th April will have 8,000 and the FA Cup final could have up to 21,000 spectators on 15th May. 

The World Snooker Championships, meanwhile, will take place between 17th April and 3rd May and will have up to 1,000 people seated in the indoor Crucible Arena in Sheffield each day. Three outdoor 10k runs at Hatfield Park north of London will see 3,000 people take part, and up to 3,000 spectators allowed at each event.