London (AFP) – An FA Cup semi-final and the World Snooker Championship are to be used as pilot events for the return of fans as coronavirus restrictions in England are eased, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said on Monday.
The nation has entered the second phase of its roadmap out of lockdown thanks in large part to a successful vaccination drive.
Grassroots outdoor sport is now allowed to resume but the further easing of restrictions is dependent on the continued success of the vaccine rollout and infection rates.
One the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley in April will be among a number of pilot events to trial the return of large crowds.
Chelsea play Manchester City on April 17, with Leicester taking on Southampton the following day.
The FA Cup final and the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield are also on the schedule but a full list of pilot events is yet to be published.
“We want to get as many people back as safely as possible,” Dowden told the BBC. “We want to make it as simple and convenient as possible for people. That’s why we are conducting these pilots.
“The plan is to look at factors like one-way systems, ventilation within a stadium and how you interact in terms of getting to and from the venue.”
Dowden refused to be drawn on how many spectators would be permitted to attend the Wembley semi-final that would be used as a pilot.
The third step of the easing of restrictions, on May 17 at the earliest, would allow stadiums to open with a 25 percent capacity limit, up to a maximum of 10,000 spectators.
The current plan is for all restrictions on social contact to be lifted on June 21.
Wembley is hosting seven Euro 2020 matches, including both semi-finals, on July 6 and 7, and the final on July 11.
200+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
- Includes NBC, USA, FOX, ESPN, CBSSN & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
- Price: $69.99/mo. for Entertainment package
- Watch World Cup, Euro 2024 & MLS
- Includes ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 + local channels
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
2,000+ soccer games per year
- Price: $4.99/mo
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
- Get a Paramount+ one month free trial for a limited time
- Who should host the World Cup Final in 2026?
- Where to find Orlando Pride vs. Racing Louisville on US TV
- Ronaldo wants to leave Man United – reports
- Kylian Mbappé can shock the world again at World Cup 2022
- What is the best soccer stadium in the world?
- Where to find Santos vs. Flamengo on US TV
- Where to find Fluminense vs. Corinthians on US TV
- Romelu Lukaku homecoming provides opportunity at Inter Milan
- Wimbledon, Tour, cricket and rugby find Covid still in the air