The UK government are keen to step up the scale of their trialling for the return of fans to stadiums and are understood to be open to allowing Wembley to use its full 90,000 capacity at this summer’s European Championship.
Fans have been slowly tricking back into stadiums across the country, with the FA Cup semi-final and final being used as specific trial events on top of each Premier League team hosting up to 10,000 supporters in their final home games of the season.
Those trial events have also extended to wider cultural events like the Brit Awards, the World Snooker Championships and even a nightclub in London, and as noted by the Evening Standard, just 15 positive cases of COVID-19 could be traced to the 58,000 people who took part in the events.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden confirmed that the government now plan to host larger test events at major venues, and the report states that Wembley has been earmarked as a venue which could host a full-scale crowd.
It’s suggested that Wembley’s games at the Euros could be played in front of the full 90,000 fans even before the government lifts its social distancing rules on 21 June – assuming all goes according to plan before then.
Wembley has already confirmed it is prepared to welcome a minimum of 22,500 fans, but the FA planned to continue discussions with the government over increasing that number ahead of the deadline for confirming their total capacity in early June.
The stadium will host all three of England’s group stage games against Croatia (13 June), Scotland (18 June) and the Czech Republic (22 June), before stepping up its involvement in the knockout stages.
Wembley has been handed two last 16 ties, both semi-finals and the final, which could feasibly be played in front of 90,000 fans on 11 July.
It’s not clear how many matches at Wembley could be used as trial events, but the government are clearly eager to get a better idea of how to manage a full-scale crowd in a post-COVID world.