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Fans Will Be Allowed In For One FA Cup Semi Final
Monday, 29th Mar 2021 16:43

Southampton's FA Cup semi-final clash with Leicester City at Wembley Stadium next month could have fans present as could the previous day's game between Chelsea & Manchester City, but will this cause more problems than it is worth ?

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden told BBC sports editor Dan Roan that a game on either 17 or 18 April will be part of the trial programme.

The FA Cup final and the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield are also on the schedule.

"We want to get as many people back as safely as possible," said Dowden.

Poignantly the FA has yet to either announce this decision or to comment on it perhaps highlighting that there is a divide between the Government and the FA.

But with the full return of fans a month later being limited to just 25% of capacity or 10,000, it is likely that the semi final dry run will be a lot less than that.

This is where the FA are not happy, it will cost more to open the stadium than they will take in ticket money and then there is the question of just who get the tickets, with the club's unlikely to get an allocation and it be limited to locals or even NHS staff.

That in itself could lead to ticket touting and then there is the potential for public disorder, in this respect I would not think the Metropolitan Police will be too happy in the possibility of getting in meaning that supporters of the sides involved travelling down on the day to watch the game in pub gardens.

Semi finals can be fractious affairs with the potential for crowd trouble, where finals have tended to be more about the occasion itself and less about the pain of losing.

The Government seem to be trying to show the public they are reopening the country and indeed big sporting events, but from what I have seen from their efforts so far, this is more about PR than actually thinking things through.

Photo: Action Images

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ElijahK added 16:56 - Mar 29
Look no matter what happens here, unless their plans are going to change, this is just going to cause trouble. As if they only give one game the opportunity to have fans then what decides who gets it? As yeah it would be worth more to us Saints and the Leicester fans seeing that we don’t make Wembley anywhere near as much as the likes of Chelsea or Man City, but of course the Chelsea and city fans won’t be happy with that.
Even when that’s sorted I mean what’s going to happen with the tickets? As by what I’ve read they might even go to neutrals as for all the travel guidelines as only Chelsea are in London which will only cause more outrage as how neutrals go to a game over actual fans is just ridiculous and would rightfully outrage many people.
And even if fans can go they’ll only be 2,000 tickets for each side and as I’m sure many saints fans will agree that it would be quite frustrating to see some of the fans who just don’t sing or interact that much at games get the tickets whilst all the ones that do get up sing and properly support their team, have to watch the game at home!

I mean unless something seriously changes I honestly only see a lot of bug issues and arguments coming from this, but hopefully at the very least actual fans will be allowed to go and that as certain media’s have been saying, they don’t get locked out due to travel restrictions whilst some arsenal, West Ham, palace etc fans go to see a game they really couldn’t care less about over those actual fans who it means the world to!

SanMarco added 18:44 - Mar 29

I see no point in this. I agree with Nick it is yet more government PR. We had games with 2000 and 4000 in the autumn so what exactly do they need to find out? Getting 4000 or even 8000 in and out of the stadium would be easy. How do you deal with thousands of disappointed Leicester fans after the match once they have left the stadium area?

If the easing of restrictions does continue safely (a bigger IF than some people think) then I reckon the pre-season 'friendlies' in July are the time to try things out. The problems will be away from the grounds themselves - railway stations strike me as a big problem. These aren't things that need one FA Cup Semi to have a few thousand in.

NewburySaint added 19:02 - Mar 29
Yep, agree-this very much sounds like Government PR.

If it does happen, whomever tickets would be given to it is unlikely to be for the Saints Leicester game due to the kick off time which, even “locals” would find it difficult to get away from Wembley at unless everybody drove there.

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