Wembley could be full for England v Czech Republic game at European Championship
Hopes high for restrictions to be lifted the day before the rearranged Euro 2020 contest.
England will hope to play the Czech Republic in front of a full house at Wembley this summer after the Government set out its road map for the easing of lockdown restrictions in the country.
Fans could be allowed back into sporting events in limited numbers from May 17 with all restrictions lifted by June 21 – a day before Gareth Southgate’s team are due to play at Wembley in the rearranged Euro 2020 finals.
The semi-finals and the final of tournament are also due to be played at the national stadium on July 6, 7 and 11, while Wimbledon gets under way on June 28.
Sports venues will be able to open their doors once the nation reaches step three of the recovery plan, no earlier than May 17 – a week before the Premier League season concludes but two days after the FA Cup final.
At that point, larger outdoor seated venues will be given a “special provision” to allow in up to 10,000 people.
For smaller outdoor venues, or those without seating, this would be capped at 4,000 people or 50 per cent of capacity, whichever is lower. For indoor venues the cap will be 1,000 people or 50 per cent capacity, whichever is lower.
The remainder of the EFL regular season, with the exception of any pilot events, will remain behind closed doors but the league indicated its hope that both the Carabao Cup final on April 25 and the final round of regular season matches on May 8 and 9 could form part of the pilot programme.
In a statement, the EFL said it hoped “as many fans as possible” could attend the divisional play-off finals at the end of May.
Other sports also welcomed the news. With England due to play two Tests against New Zealand in early June before white-ball games against Sri Lanka and Pakistan, the ECB said: “We are also very pleased to see the return of spectators to grounds from mid-May.
“Our leading venues strongly believe they have the technology and know-how to return capacity crowds and we look forward to working in close partnership with the Government to identify ways in which this can be achieved in a safe and controlled manner this season.”
The Rugby Football Union said: “We will work with DCMS [Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport] on the Covid protocols for the community game, including the format of rugby that will be permitted in return to play. We also look forward to working with Government and other sports on the safe return of fans to stadiums.”
The Rugby Football League also welcomed the development, while Jon Dutton. chief executive of Rugby League World Cup 2021, which is scheduled to take place in England in October and November, said: “We are greatly encouraged by the road map for the return of spectators to sports stadia.
“We have remained positive and optimistic that fans would be able to attend the tournament.”
However, England Golf said: “England Golf is extremely disappointed that the scientific evidence presented to government detailing how the sport can be played in a Covid-secure manner has not resulted in a return to play date earlier than 29 March.”