FA Cup final could be restricted to local fans despite plans to host crowd of 20,000

16 March 2021 02:05

Fans living outside London could be denied the chance to attend the FA Cup final should their club reach the showpiece event in May.

With the government continuing to reassess lockdown restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic, the FA Cup final on May 15 has been pinpointed as a pilot event in which a limited number of fans could be allowed into Wembley for the game.

The government is keen to avoid another FA Cup final without fans | Marc Atkins/Getty Images

However, while news of a potential 20,000-strong crowd will have had fans of the eight sides remaining in the competition licking their lips, The Telegraph has now revealed that those in attendance could be limited to residents of London.

In a move designed to stop the need for unnecessary travel, fans of Manchester United, Manchester City, Everton, Leicester, Sheffield United, Bournemouth and Southampton could all face the prospect of being barred from watching their side live on May 15.

The only London-based side remaining in the competition is Chelsea. However, the report claims that the government is keen to avoid a scenario where the ruling hands an advantage to only one of the sides who makes it to the final.

One alternative to have been suggested would be for a limited number of tickets to be allocated to United or City fans (for example), and said supporters would then be tested for the virus at their club's home ground before travelling to Wembley, while the remainder of the allocation would be handed to neutrals from the London area.

Manchester City have enjoyed some memorable trips to Wembley | Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

The FA Cup final will be one of a number of pilot schemes used over the coming months as the government looks to test the safety of fans returning to matches prior to the European Championships.

When referring to the test schemes, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: "[They] will be crucial in finding ways to get fans and audiences back in safely without social distancing.

"We will be guided by the science and medical experts, but will work flat out to make that happen.

"There is a strong recognition that come the late spring we need to start getting back to life as we know it."

Source: 90min