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Championship play-off finalists want more fans at Wembley

London (AFP) – The two clubs contesting the richest game in English football have pleaded with authorities to let more fans in for Saturday’s Championship play-off final at London’s Wembley Stadium.

Brentford and Swansea will meet to decide which club claims the remaining place in next season’s lucrative Premier League, with the showpiece match worth some £180 million ($254 million) to the winners. 

But, as things stand, the match will be played in front of a maximum crowd of 10,000 spectators because of Covid-19 regulations, compared to the 21,000 allowed in Leicester’s FA Cup final win over Chelsea at the home of English football earlier this month.

Jon Varney, the chief executive of west London club Brentford, slammed the decision as “unjustifiable”, saying in a joint statement: “We feel it is unjust that only a few days ago, more than 20,000 fans were admitted to the FA Cup final and advanced discussions were taking place for Wembley to host the Champions League final with a similar number of fans attending.

“We find it incredulous and unjustifiable that the Championship play-off final will be restricted to just half that number.”

Both teams are set to be restricted to just 4,000 fans as their teams compete for a place in the top flight of the English game.

Julian Winter, the chief executive of Welsh club Swansea, who’ve long played professional football in England’s league system, said: “The FA Cup final recently hosted over 20,000 spectators which helped generate a fantastic atmosphere for both teams — something which has been sorely missed over the past 14 months.

“Supporters are the lifeblood of the game we all love, and it is such a shame that more of them cannot be at Wembley to cheer on their team in what will be a brilliant occasion for all those clubs involved in the play-off final weekend.”

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  1. Michael

    May 25, 2021 at 9:33 am

    @Dermot McQuarrie. That would be a true statement in England but not USA. 1. Disney Purchased Championship to help drive ESPN+, if they put it on ABC, there would be no need for people to pay for ESPN+. 2. ABC is broadcasting the X-Games this week. Disney is a huge financial stakeholder in the X-Games, and it traditionally year in and year out it is one of their most profitable enterprise. 3. After the X-Games they will be showing NCAA Softball Regionals. Once again another thing that is very profitable on a US Holiday weekend. It resonates with us fans, but it is not going to draw any fans that weren’t already going to watch it. Even most of the American EPL fans probably won’t be watching it. I will have it on split screen while I am watching Baseball and grilling…but I don’t think man casual fans would be tuning in. Now I think the EURO 2020 will do decent numbers…but even that final is on ESPN…not ABC. 4. With all the money that Disney spends on MLS, they are going to make sure that they are the main Soccer choice on OTA. Most of the rest of the Soccer with be on ESPN+. I think that you will see Der Klassicker, or El Classico on ABC when those games fall on a Sunday….but on the Saturday versions of those games, those games would never knock off a College Football Game or an NBA game. All that being said. I am excited for the game. I saw Chris’s Swansea team play for the first time this week…and I liked what I saw.

  2. JP

    May 25, 2021 at 8:53 am

    @Dermot and Roberto. Doubt ESPN would ever show a promotion match on OTA for promotion to a league they do not have the rights to.

    The match is important because it grants access to the EPL, something the commentators will surely mention many many times. Don’t think ESPN wants to advertise the EPL on behalf of NBC!

  3. Roberto

    May 25, 2021 at 8:43 am

    Sure hope someone is listening to you Dermot!

  4. Dermot McQuarrie

    May 24, 2021 at 8:12 pm

    It is not only the richest game in English football, it is the richest sporting match up in the world
    And it should be shown on ABC

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