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Carabao Cup final identified as trial for fans’ return to stadiums

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Spurs fans may be able to boo Mourinho in person!

Tributes to Former England Goalkeeper Gordon Banks Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur’s best chance for a trophy comes on April 25, and there now exists a decent chance that there could be fans physically present at the stadiums for it. According to the Times of London (£), the Carabao Cup and FA Cup finals are being considered as test events for the return of fans to English football stadiums.

It’s been more or less the plan all along. The Carabao Cup final is usually held at the end of February or beginning of March, but it was announced just after the semifinals that the match would be pushed back to late April to kick the can down the road a bit with the hopes that the COVID situation would be a bit better by then. So far, that appears to be a prescient decision.

At last count over 13% of the UK population had been vaccinated against COVID-19, which raises the hope that football matches might be able to have small numbers of supporters by later this spring. The FA is targeting the Carabao Cup final and the FA Cup final on May 15. The report also didn’t completely rule out the possibility of some fans returning for Premier League matches before the end of the 2020-21 season, though the implication is that it could be difficult.

Various heads of sport in the UK are apparently desperate to try and have at least some socially distant fans for such events as Wimbledon, the British Grand Prix, the British Open, and Euro 2020 this summer, seven matches of which are set to be played at Wembley Stadium.

Of course, the positive trend of coronavirus cases would need to continue for that to happen, as would the general trend of getting vaccine jabs into people’s arms, and it’s notable that this is more of a “this is what they’d like to do” article and not a “this is what they’re doing” article. As we’ve seen already, the virus is too unpredictable to make any long term plans at the moment.

As for Tottenham, it’s an open question as to whether having fans in the stadium for what could be their only cup final of the year is positive or not. If Spurs are able to turn their season around and put in a good showing against a Manchester City team that looks likely to walk the league title, then a few Spurs fans in attendance would be a positive. And if not, then at least it’ll give those same fans their first real opportunity to boo Jose Mourinho off the pitch. That’s not nothing either.