EFL hoping Man City vs Tottenham Carabao Cup Final could be pilot event for return of fans

George Flood
·2-min read
<p>Manchester City play Tottenham in the Carabao Cup Final at Wembley Stadium on April 25</p> (Getty Images)

Manchester City play Tottenham in the Carabao Cup Final at Wembley Stadium on April 25

(Getty Images)

The EFL appear hopeful that the Carabao Cup Final between Manchester City and Tottenham in April could be designated as a pilot test event for the wider return of supporters to stadiums in England.

Earlier on Monday in the House of Commons, Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled the government’s “irreversible” four-stage road map out of the nation’s latest Covid-19 lockdown.

As part of those plans, it was confirmed that up to 10,000 fans could return to sporting stadiums from May 17.

Such a time frame could result in spectators being allowed back in for the final round of 2020/21 Premier League fixtures.

Under the plans detailed on Monday, indoor events would be capped at 50 per cent capacity or 1,000, whichever is lower, with 50 per cent capacity or 4,000, whichever is lower, for outdoor events.

There is a special provision for large, outdoor, seated venues where crowds can be safely distributed, allowing up to 10,000 people or 25 per cent of total seated capacity, whichever is lower.

The current EFL season is due to finish on May 8, but, under the plans announced on Monday, fans could be able to attend the three play-off finals, which are due to take place between 29-31 May.

The Carabao Cup Final falls three weeks before that May 17 date on April 25, with holders and Premier League leaders Manchester City facing Tottenham at Wembley Stadium.

However, it seems that the EFL are hopeful that some fans could be able to attend that fixture as part of a pilot programme akin to the one seen before the initial, short-lived return of fans to stadiums in some locations in November.

Mr Johnson confirmed that larger pilot events would take place in April using enhanced testing.

"We note the Prime Minister's announcement today in respect of a roadmap for easing national lockdown restrictions and the Government's criteria for a phased return of fans to sporting events,” an EFL spokesperson said on Monday.

"As has been our approach throughout the pandemic, the EFL wants to see supporters back in our stadia as soon as it is safe to do so.

"We will continue to work with clubs, DCMS, the SGSA and local authorities to this end.

"Following a successful fan pilot programme in the autumn, the EFL and member clubs have shown test events for fans can be safely delivered with the appropriate measures in place.

"With the Carabao Cup final taking place on April 25 and the culmination of the EFL season on May 8/9, we look forward to engaging with the Government about its pilot programme.

"We will be working to welcome as many fans as possible to the Sky Bet Play-Off Finals which will conclude the 2020-21 season on the Spring Bank Holiday weekend."

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