Wembley is on the brink of being almost half full for the knock-out stages of the European Championship – regardless of the Prime Minister’s lockdown update next week.
Senior figures within sport and Whitehall are in advanced talks around signing off measures which will ensure the home of English football can scale up numbers even if "freedom day" is delayed. With the Delta variant first identified in India now comprising 91 per cent of cases of coronavirus in the UK, the Government is expected to decide next week whether to proceed with a further easing of restrictions in England on June 21.
However, the FA is set to be reassured that Wembley can remain on track to boost numbers from the 22,500 crowd levels that have already been given the green light for the group stages. Just 15 cases of Covid-19 emerged among 58,000 people who took part in sport and arts test events – and no infections at all took place during the FA Cup final at Wembley.
Buoyed by the results, senior figures within sport and Whitehall are hopeful of giving assurances imminently that the national stadium can welcome around 40,000 spectators by the knock-out stages.
More to follow