The FA Cup final on August 1 could see 20,000 fans at Wembley as the first big step towards phasing crowds back after the coronavirus crisis.
Football chiefs are reportedly considering allowing 10,000 supporters for each finalist if Britain gets Covid-19 under greater control.
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The Mirror say Wembley officials believe the 90,000-capacity national stadium would offer the ideal opportunity – following the behind-the-closed action that football faces when the Premier League resumes on June 17.
But it is thought the coronavirus “R” infection rate would first need to dip from its current level of 0.7 to 1 to about 0.5.
Wembley can hold a far bigger number of spectators than any other football stadium in the country, making it easier to maintain social distancing.
But although the government is easing the lockdown, some scientists fear a second spike in the virus as the public flocks to enjoy the warmer weather.
HOW THE FA CUP LOOKS NOW
THIS is how the eight clubs will battle it out for a last-four spot – with the ultimate prize a place in the delayed final on August 1.
That Wembley clash could also mark a return to crowds after the pandemic.
QUARTER-FINALS (June 27-28):
Leicester City v Chelsea
Newcastle v Man City
SheffiUtd v Arsenal
Norwich v Man Utd
So the FA would face a major call over letting supporters attend the domestic game’s showpiece finale.
The FA Cup quarter-finals are scheduled for the weekend of June 27-28, with the last-four ties due on July 18-19.
Meanwhile, The Prem is only restarting with the acceptance some matches will be at neutral venues.
That means Liverpool will probably be deprived of the chance to clinch the title at Anfield and/or celebrate there shortly after.
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But letting supporters attend the FA Cup final would be a useful guide for a gradual return of fans at some games when next season starts, possibly in September.
The Mirror report a football administrator as saying: “Discussions have taken place about a phased return of spectators when Government health advice allows.
“That will be in smaller, manageable numbers at first and Wembley would seem a good place to start as it’s the country’s biggest stadium.”
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