What return of fans looks like: Carabao Cup Final and World Snooker Championship

Manchester City fans attending the Carabao Cup final face being kept in Covid-secure bubbles, the English Football League has revealed, as it emerged they and Tottenham Hotspur supporters would receive 2,000 tickets for the game.
Chartered trains and coaches are likely to be laid on to take City fans to Wembley for the April 24 match, which will be the first major football final with a crowd in England since the coronavirus crisis began.

Children, clinically extremely vulnerable adults, pregnant women, and anyone living with somebody who falls into the latter two categories could also be banned from a match that is part of the Government’s Events Research Programme.

It was confirmed over the weekend that 8,000 spectators would be allowed to attend the game and EFL chief executive Trevor Birch has revealed half of them would be supporters from the rival clubs.

They will include hundreds of City fans from Manchester, something that risks spreading Covid-19 from one part of the country to another.

Asked whether those supporters would be kept in bubbles, Birch replied: “I would imagine so.”

Telegraph Sport has been told chartered trains and coaches are likely to be laid on to take City fans to and from Wembley, with Birch saying of Covid-safe transport: “Those kinds of things are being discussed.

“Unfortunately, I can’t go into the detail because it is still in train. It’s obviously quite a complicated process. There are a lot of stakeholders involved in the discussions.

“It’s obviously going to be 2,000 fans on either side but that’s really all the detail I can go into.”

The remaining 4,000 tickets will be given to local residents in Brent and NHS staff.

Birch was also hopeful up to 10,000 supporters would be allowed to attend the EFL play-off semi-finals and finals and that full crowds would return across the professional game in time for next season.

The pilot programme aimed at allowing that to happen is currently restricted to the League Cup final, an FA Cup semi-final and the final, and the World Snooker Championship, which it was announced would become the first UK sporting event to host a full capacity crowd since the coronavirus crisis began.

Many of the protocols in place for the tournament at the Crucible – at which there will be ban on children, clinically extremely vulnerable adults, pregnant women, and anyone living with somebody who falls into the latter two categories – are likely to be mirrored at Wembley.

Announcing the World Championship final on May 2-3 would operate without any capacity restrictions, World Snooker Tour revealed all attendees at the tournament must undertake a free Covid-19 test prior to being admitted to the Crucible – either on the day itself or the day before – and another five days after attendance.

It said the first test would be followed by a text message confirming the result, which must be negative and then shown on arrival to gain admittance, after which a QR Code must be scanned to ‘check in’ using the NHS Track and Trace app.

The announcement also confirmed arrangements for attendance at the Crucible to be scaled up from 33 per cent in round one, to 50 per cent in round two and then 75 per cent in the quarter- and semi-finals.

It said spectators would be forced to wear face coverings while seated in the near 1,000-capacity arena to reduce the risk of transmission of Covid-19.

How World Snooker Championship pilot programme will work

Round 1 – Saturday April 17 to Wednesday April 21

The venue will operate at 33 per cent spectator capacity. This will be managed under social distancing guidelines similar to those in place at the end of the 2020 Betfred World Championship and there will be 1 metre+ distancing observed between different ticket groups/bookings. Social distancing will be observed throughout the building and external queuing areas and face coverings will need to be worn throughout the time inside the building, including when seated.

Round 2 – Thursday April 22 to Monday April 26

The venue will operate at 50 per cent capacity. Bookings will be grouped in parties of 1 or 2 and the available seats will be spread around the venue to avoid different parties sitting next to one another. Social distancing will not be expected under this capacity although some mitigation procedures will be required to reduce the risk of transmission including wearing face coverings in the venue.

Quarter-final and semi-finals – Tuesday April 27 to Saturday May 1

The venue will operate at 75 per cent capacity. It will not be possible to avoid different parties sitting alongside one another. Social distancing will not be expected under this capacity although some mitigation procedures will be required to reduce the risk of transmission including wearing face coverings in the venue.

Final – Sunday May 2 to Monday May 3

The venue will operate without any capacity restriction. It will not be possible to avoid different parties sitting alongside one another. Social distancing will not be expected under this capacity although some mitigation procedures will be required to reduce the risk of transmission including wearing face coverings in the venue.

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