Pilot Test Event Announcement




The Carabao Cup Final and an Emirates FA Cup Semi-Final are set to be among a range of pilot

events hosting audiences as part of the government’s plan to get big crowds back this


The events will be part of the government’s science-led Events Research Programme (ERP)

working closely with local authorities and organisers to undertake studies to get fans and

audiences back in safely as restrictions are gradually eased.

The Carabao Cup Final on 25 April is to have 8,000 supporters with the Emirates FA Cup semi-final on

18 April hosting an audience of 4,000 and the Emirates FA Cup Final hosting a crowd of 21,000.

Any ticketing information for events at the Stadium will be released in due course. 

The pilots programme will be used to provide key scientific data and research into how small

and large-scale events could be permitted to safely reopen in line with the Prime Minister's

Roadmap out of lockdown as part of Step 4, commencing no earlier than 21 June.

To build up the evidence base, a number of pilots will include spectators and fans not

socially distanced under carefully controlled medical supervision.

The pilots will also test a range of non-pharmaceutical mitigating interventions during

non-socially distanced events such as layout of the venue, face coverings and ventilation.

Attendees will be required to take a test both before and after the event in order to ensure

event safety and to gather evidence on the pilots.

They will have to adhere to an agreed code of behaviour at the point of ticket purchase and

will be required to give consent acknowledging the risk associated with attending a pilot

event. They will be required to follow existing Government guidance on the use of face

coverings and adhering to event specific rules. Attendees will not be permitted if they have

symptoms of Covid-19. They will also have to provide contact details of everyone in their

group for NHS Test and Trace.

The events research programme will include looking at risk factors in indoor and outdoor

settings; small and large venues; seated and standing events and different forms of

audience participation.

Transport to and from events; duration of events and catering and alcohol will also be factors

that are looked at. The programme will be run in partnership with local and national health

authorities and will be subject to the latest health data. Events may be delayed or cancelled

as a result.


Q: What is the aim of this research programme?

  • The Events Research Programme aims to examine the risk of transmission of Covid-19 from attendance at events and explore ways to enable people to attend a range of events safely. 
  • To achieve this, the programme will explore how a combination of testing and non-pharmaceutical interventions (actions that people can take to mitigate the spread of coronavirus) can inform decisions on safely lifting restrictions at events. 

Q: What is this research programme going to involve?

  • The ERP is running its first phase of 10-15 pilots in April/May to inform the safe removal of social distancing from Step 4 of the Roadmap. The pilots will be run across a range of settings, venue types, and activity types so that findings could support the full reopening of similar settings across multiple sectors. 
  • The events include the World Snooker Championship at the Crucible and the BRIT Awards, building towards admitting attendance of up to 20,000 to Wembley for the FA Cup final on 15 May.  

Q: Who’s involved in the ERP and how will it be run?

  • The programme is overseen by an industry-led steering group co-chaired by Sir Nicholas Hytner and David Ross and working closely with national and local public health authorities. The board will consider the evidence from the pilot events and make recommendations to the Prime Minister and the Secretaries of State for DCMS, BEIS and DHSC on how restrictions could be safely lifted. 
  • A Joint Programme Board will work across government to inform policy development on reopening sectors ahead of Step 4 of the roadmap. 
  • The Programme Board will seek advice from external experts, other government departments who have an interest in the research work, the scientific community through the cross-Whitehall Chief Scientific Advisors network, and other stakeholder groups. 
  • The governance structure will also include an independently chaired Science Board, which will bring together clinical and scientific experts. The Science Board will provide scientific assurance across the programme and ensure events are following ethical and scientific principles and will generate evidence of sufficient quality to inform decisions.

Q: Isn’t there a risk that running pilots with large numbers of people is just going to spread the virus further?

  • Public safety is our main priority and decisions will be guided by a Science Board of relevant experts including senior PHE representation, who will take into account the latest public health data. All pilots will be designed in a scientifically controlled way, with special consideration to reduce risk of transmission.
  • Specific measures will include all attendees at pilot events being subject to scientifically and ethically designed pre and post-event monitoring. 
  • We have put careful consideration into the timing of this study, particularly with regard to progress of the vaccination programme. Over 98 per cent of people at risk of death from Covid-19 have been vaccinated, which significantly lowers the risk posed.  

Q: If the results of the events research pilot are not as expected will this delay full reopening of sectors in Stage 4?

  • Public safety is our main priority and decisions will be guided by a Science Board of relevant experts including senior PHE representation, who will take into account the latest public health data. All pilots will be designed in a scientifically controlled way, with special consideration to reduce risk of transmission.
  • As stressed by the Prime Minister,  the roadmap will be driven by the epidemiological data not target dates. We are hopeful that pilots will enable us to work with the experts to allow reopening as planned in stage 4 of the roadmap.
  • The Senior Advisory Board will take into account other relevant reviews and working groups to identify best practice approaches for conducting the Events Research Programme.
  • The ERP will align its work with other reviews, including covid status certification and social distancing, to ensure the latest research findings are taken into account. 

Q: How will you ensure that accessibility and diversity concerns are factored into the programme?

  • We are reflecting on issues of diversity, inclusion and equality, ensuring the events cover a range of age groups, ethnicities, geographic location including accessibility and commercial viability.
  • We continue to engage with stakeholders and the scientific community to help shape these plans and will provide further details in due course.

Q: Will tests be sent with the tickets? 

  • Testing will largely be delivered through the existing community testing network, with results validated by the event organisers before ticket-holders are admitted to the venue.

Q: Will alcohol be allowed to be served at events? 

  • Due to the pilots existing outside of the covid regulations, serving alcohol needs to be agreed by local authorities in advance. This will take into account any concerns they may have around associated behaviours from a local public health perspective.

Q: What happens if someone refuses to show a test - will they be denied entry?  

  • Yes, entry will be subject to a negative test result.  In practice this will work in much the same way that international travel has taken place in recent months - entry will be denied to those that cannot provide evidence of a negative test result. 

Q: Will high risk groups not be able to come? 

  • This will be considered as part of the research methodology and all participants will be asked to give their consent before attending any of the events in the programme.

Q: Are you concerned about events causing increased covid spread? 

  • The programme incorporates a small number of scientific trials to learn about the risks of transmission with pre- and post-event testing of participants.  Events will be delivered in partnership with local Directors for Public Health to ensure any risks arising are carefully managed. 

Q: How do I get tickets for a pilot event?

  • The events are scientific trials and each event may have different criteria for the selection of participants.  We are working with event organisers to identify suitable participants from their usual customer base.
  • Further details regarding the Events Research Programme will be published in due course.

Q: How do you recommend people travel to pilot events? 

  • All pilots will be designed in a scientifically controlled way, with special consideration to reduce risk of transmission, and guidance specific to pilot events to support this will be published in due course.
  • Our shortlist of pilots events takes into account how transport to those events can be managed as a key part of the programme’s science-led criteria.

Q: Will lateral testing be sufficient or will you expect people to have a PCR result? 

  • Ticket holders will be subject to testing before and after each event.

Q: How will fans be seated at the FA Cup final?  All together in lower tiers? Or mix of some social distancing and some without?

  • Ticket holders will be subject to testing before and after each event.

Q: Will the usual facilities within venues - such as toilets, bookmakers and bars - reopen?

  • The ERP Science Board is in agreement that there is a need for all of the pilots to be as accurate to standard live events as possible, including attendees eating and drinking, so that the results we gather are scientifically robust and applicable to real-life settings. 
  • This will allow our research team to understand cluster points of transmission and gather an evidence base in how events sectors can mitigate risk and ultimately help our sectors to take this data into account when they roll out events after step 4 of the roadmap. 



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