The presence of 4,000 spectators at Leicester City’s FA Cup semi-final at Wembley is “great news”, manager Brendan Rodgers has said, even though the club’s supporters won’t be able to travel for the fixture.
Brendan Rodgers said: “It’s great news. It’s a start in getting supporters back into stadiums. Okay, 4,000 in a 90,000-capacity stadium will look small but I think it’s the access for supporters. Both teams would have loved to have their own supporters given the opportunity, but at least we’re making movements towards supporters coming back, so that’s great news.”
It will be the second match in which spectators have been in attendance at a City game since the pandemic took hold, following the cluster of supporters that were allowed to attend the club’s Europa League round of 32 first leg at Slavia Prague. Then, 600 Slavia fans was the official capacity – a number disputed by Rodgers – but despite their allegiance to the Czech side, the City players were grateful to have people in the ground.
After a goalless draw in February, midfielder Hamza Choudhury said “It was the best feeling. There weren’t many of them, but it makes the world of difference. It makes it feel a little bit more like football. Everyone before the game was buzzing, a bit giddy to start playing in front of fans again and to experience them – very loud as well. So, it was good.”
If City beat Southampton and reach the FA Cup final, that may be the first opportunity for the club’s fans to attend a game since March 2020, with 20,000 supporters expected to be allowed at Wembley for the showpiece occasion as part of another test event. Frustratingly for City supporters hoping to see their team play an FA Cup semi-final for the first time in 39 years, a small number of fans will be allowed to attend the following weekend’s Carabao Cup final between Manchester City and Tottenham, with a larger number of spectators to be admitted. Still, Rodgers is happy that his team can be present at what everyone hopes will be the first game of a route back to full stadiums.
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