EFL Cup final to host 8,000 fans in pilot event

The League Cup final between Manchester City and Tottenham will be allowed to host 8,000 spectators as part of pilot events to pave the way for the return of large crowds to stadiums, the UK government announced on Sunday.

The final will be held at London’s Wembley Stadium on April 25. It was due to be played on Feb. 28 but was pushed back in the hope that a later date would allow fans to attend.

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“The Department of Culture, Media and Sport has given the green light for 8,000 spectators to attend as part of the UK government’s Events Research Programme,” City said in a statement.

Tickets will be made available to both Spurs and City fans as well as local residents around the stadium and the National Health Service (NHS) workers.

“The Carabao Cup is a prized asset of the English Football League (EFL), a great competition for clubs to win and always a fantastic occasion so we are absolutely delighted to see supporters back for the 2021 final, in what will hopefully be another important milestone along the way to a full return of fans,” EFL chairman Rick Parry said in a statement.

“Football has lots of expertise in crowd management so we welcome the opportunity to support the government in its Events Research Programme and will also take great pride in hosting NHS staff at the final to whom we owe so much for their momentous efforts throughout the pandemic.

“The EFL’s broad objective has always been to seek fans return to stadia as soon as it is safe to do so and we welcome the opportunity to play our part working collaboratively with Wembley Stadium, local authorities and specialists overseeing the research programme.

“These collective efforts will be crucial as we seek a return for fans of EFL clubs for the playoffs and start of the 2021-22 season, so that our members can plan with confidence.”

The trial, to be run at nine events including the FA Cup final and one semifinal, will be used to assess whether large events can be held in closed settings without social distancing.

The FA Cup semifinal between Leicester City and Southampton on April 18 will be allowed to host an audience of 4,000, while a crowd of 21,000 will be permitted for the final on May 15 at Wembley.