The Emirates FA Cup Final and one semi-final at Wembley Stadium are set to be among a range of pilot events hosting audiences as part of the government’s plan to get big crowds back this summer.
The events, which also includes the EFL Cup Final at Wembley, will be part of the government’s science-led Events Research Programme (ERP) working closely with local authorities and organisers to undertake studies to get fans and audiences back in safely as restrictions are gradually eased.
First up is the Emirates FA Cup semi-final between Leicester City and Southampton on Sunday 18 April, which will host an audience of 4000 people, before the League Cup Final on 25 April is to have 8000 spectators.
The plan is then to build up to hosting a 21,000 crowd for the Emirates FA Cup Final on Saturday 15 May.
Further details on both Emirates FA Cup games will be announced in due course.
"We're delighted to be hosting three test events at Wembley and are confident we can offer a safe environment," said The FA chief executive, Mark Bullingham.
"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."
The pilots programme will be used to provide key scientific data and research into how small and large-scale events could be permitted to safely reopen in line with the Prime Minister's Roadmap out of lockdown as part of Step 4, commencing no earlier than 21 June.
Venues participating in the programme will test specific settings to collect evidence and best practice. The evidence will then be shared widely so that venues can prepare to accommodate fuller audiences.
This review will be crucial to how venues - from major sport stadiums to comedy clubs, theatres to live music spaces, wedding venues, conference centres and nightclubs - could operate this summer.
Researchers at the events will gather evidence associated with different settings and approaches to managing and mitigating transmission risk. The pilots will explore how different approaches to social distancing, ventilation and test-on-entry protocols could ease opening and maximise participation. Covid-status certification will also be trialled as part of the pilots.
Researchers will also be at the venues to monitor crowd movements at the pilots and look at how attendees behave in these environments as well as consider the economic impact of any mitigation measures trialled such as changes to the layout.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden added: “Our sports stars and great performers need us to find ways to get bums back on seats safely. This science-led pilot programme will be the springboard in getting the buzz back of live performance.
"We’ve supported the sports and arts with unprecedented sums, but it’s now time to make that Great British Summer of live events a reality.”
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