FA Cup and Carabao Cup finals targeted for return of fans

Conversations are being held over the potential return of sports fans in stadia, with Wembley expected to be used as the venue for any test events.

On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will lay out a plan for how the UK will exit the ongoing national lockdown, but no announcement is imminent as regards supporters in grounds.

Spectators were last permitted in stadia in December.

The Carabao Cup final on 25 April has long been a target for the return of supporters, with the showpiece event at Wembley moved back from its original date of 28 February.

READ MORE: Full FA Cup quarter-final draw

At the time, the EFL confirmed the switch had occurred to “give clubs and their fans the best opportunity to attend in person”.

Tentative conversations continue to take place over spectators being allowed into Wembley for the match between Manchester City and Tottenham, but nothing has been determined over whether it will definitely be a test event for the return of supporters.

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The FA Cup final on 15 May is another potential pilot event and both fixtures could act as a test event for the new Olympic Steps at the 90,000-seater stadium.

Work to replace the pedestrian walk that marks the approach to Wembley started in 2020 and a match at limited capacity will be required to test the completed work.

If test events with fans for the Carabao Cup and FA Cup finals were a success, it would open the door for supporters to attend fixtures at this summer’s Euros.

Other major sporting events in the UK later this year are also being earmarked to entertain spectators and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport remain committed to the return of fans with mass testing and the success of the vaccine rollout adding to a growing optimism that fans could be back in sporting venues soon.

PA

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