The FA Cup semi-final between Leicester City and Southampton is expecting around 20,000 attendees

• FA Cup semi-final is a pilot event testing how crowds can return to venues safely
• Government has stressed that the events are scientific tests of the protocols
• It’s hoped the testing programme will allow large crowds to later in the summer
• Carabao Cup, FA Cup final and World Snooker Championships also test events

The FA Cup semi-final between Leicester City and Southampton has been selected by government as the first football test event for the return of fans.

The match on 18th April will be played in front of 4,000 people at Wembley Stadium, who are expected to be residents of the borough of Brent, rather than spectators of the clubs.

Health service workers may also be invited to attend the event, which is the first step on the road to returning large crowds – and even full houses – at sporting events later in the summer or next season.

The government has stressed that the pilot events are designed to investigate how to keep people safe in crowds, rather than provide an opportunity for clubs’ supporters to see their teams in action.

However, the hope is that the results of this and the other pilots, which will take place in April and May, will lead to significant numbers in the latter stages of Euro 2020.

The government is expected to announce a list of around 14 pilot events soon. The FA Cup semi-final will be one of the first. The list also includes the Carabao Cup final on April 25 and the FA Cup final on May 15.

It is hoped the numbers will ramp up with the possibility that the FA Cup final could be played in front of 20,000 people.

Wembley is reportedly hoping to admit 45,000 fans in the 90,000-seat arena for the semi-final and final of Euro 2022.