The FA deadline to decide about increased capacity for matches at the European Championships has been extended. The extension is until days before the tournament begins and days until the matches start. The FA informed UEFA that the stadiums are set to operate at quarter capacity with 22500 fans expected for all three of England’s group games. The FA is hopeful of increasing this number to close to 45000 due to the reduced coronavirus cases in the country.
The results of the two pilot events that saw fans inside Wembley were researched by an independent research program. It included 4,000 people watching Leicester’s FA Cup semi-final with Southampton.
While the overriding feeling is that both events were completed smoothly, the analysis is looking at issues including whether the flow of spectators around the stadium and concourses worked effectively with social distancing measures, whether police and stewarding numbers were effective and how the traffic situation revolved around the stadium, especially on public transport.
Once the research is complete they will report directly to Department for Culture Media and Sport. They will then discuss the possible number of fans that can attend with the FA. The FA will then suggest to UEFA the number of spectators that can attend the finals of the European Championships.
However, just as important will be the Government’s assessment of the national coronavirus pandemic picture in June, and how the roadmap out of lockdown is progressing. The ultimate decision on spectator numbers will fall to the Government and the easing of lockdown measures is set to be revised again ahead of May 17.