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    FA Cup semi-final between Chelsea and Manchester City ‘will still go ahead’ on same day as Prince Philip’s funeral

    THIS Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final between Chelsea and Manchester City will still go ahead, The Sun understands.Ministers and sports chiefs will meet today and agree to allow the event to go ahead.
    🔵 Read our live blog for the very latest news on Prince Philip’s death…
    This Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final between Manchester City and Chelsea will still go ahead, The Sun understandsCredit: EPA
    The match’s 5.30pm kick-off may change if it clashes with Prince Philip’s funeral serviceCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
    It will likely open with a minute’s silence and black armbands for the players.
    The Government has told The FA the decision is up to them — but the 5.30pm kick-off may change if it clashes with Prince Philip’s service.
    The Football League has already told its clubs that 3pm games may be moved “to avoid a clash”.
    An EFL spokesperson said: “As a mark of respect, EFL matches scheduled for 3pm on Saturday 17 April will be moved to avoid a clash with the funeral of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
    “The EFL will now work with its clubs to determine at what time the matches will be played, giving consideration to the timing of the service.
    The match will likely open with a minute’s silence and black armbands worn by players (pictured: Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic)Credit: AP

    “An announcement will follow in due course.”
    A Government spokesman said: “The decision as to whether sporting fixtures continue is at the discretion of organisers.
    “They may wish to consider using black armbands and observing a silence before matches.”

    Boris Johnson will not attend Prince Philip’s funeral to allow space for as many Royal family members as possible More

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    FA Cup final attendance confirmed with 21,000 allowed to attend and fans also in for Carabao Cup showpiece at Wembley

    FANS will be allowed to attend both the FA Cup and Carabao Cup finals, The FA have announcedThe EFL have now confirmed the 8,000 capacity for the League Cup final, played between Tottenham and Manchester City on April 25.
    Fans will be allowed to attend both the FA Cup and Carabao Cup finalsCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    The allocation will be made up of fans from both teams as well as local residents and NHS staff, who will be offered tickets as a way of saying thank you for their work during the pandemic.
    Then, there will be an increase to 21,000 supporters by May 15, when the FA Cup concludes with its showpiece at Wembley Stadium.
    It is part of a wider programme to introduce crowds back, which include snooker, comedy, film and business events.
    Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “Our sports stars and great performers need us to find ways to get bums back on seats safely.
    “This science-led pilot programme will be the springboard in getting the buzz back of live performance. 
    “We’ve supported the sports and arts with unprecedented sums, but it’s now time to make that Great British Summer of live events a reality.”
    Last year’s runners up Chelsea play City in the first FA Cup semi-final on April 17.
    A day later, Leicester face Southampton, and a live crowd of 4,000 are set to be in attendance.
    RETURN OF THE FANS ROADMAP
    April 18 – Leicester vs Southampton, FA Cup semi-final (4,000 fans)April 25 – Man City vs Spurs, Carabao Cup final (8,000 fans)May 15 – FA Cup final (21,000 fans)After May 17 – Up to 10,000 fans or 25 per cent stadium capacity allowed to attend final Prem games

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    We have revealed the initial pilot events which will help pave the way for larger audiences at sport, theatre and gigs this summer.The government’s science-led Events Research Programme will work with organisers to undertake studies to get fans and audiences back safely. pic.twitter.com/CFtZKTwNlN— Oliver Dowden (@OliverDowden) April 3, 2021

    FA CEO Mark Bullingham said: “This is an important first step towards getting fans back, with the end goal of full stadia – hopefully by the end of the Men’s Euros.”
    After May 17, up to 10,000 fans or 25 per cent of a stadium’s capacity will be allowed to attend Premier League games.
    Fans briefly returned in December, with the capacity depending on the various tier systems.
    But by Christmas, the nation was back in lockdown, bringing an end to live crowds.
    The new roadmap hopes to allow fans to attend the delayed European Championships this summer, hosted across 12 cities.
    England kick off their Euros campaign against Croatia at Wembley on June 13 but it has not been decided how many fans will be allowed to attend. More

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    Fans will have to take THREE Covid tests to attend Leicester’s FA Cup semi-final vs Southampton in first match back

    FANS will have to take THREE Covid tests to watch the first match back at Wembley.Leicester’s FA Cup semi-final with Southampton a fortnight on Sunday will be used as a test event with a 4,000-strong crowd.
    The FA Cup semi-final between Leicester and Southampton will be watched by 4,000 fansCredit: Getty – Contributor
    Supporters will have to take three coronavirus tests in order to watch the clash at WembleyCredit: Getty
    Anyone attending must take a lateral flow test beforehand, provide proof of an official test and take one 24 hours after the game.
    If everything goes well, around 8,000 fans will be allowed in for Manchester City’s Carabao Cup final against Spurs a week later.
    The matches will hopefully pave the way for 20,000 fans to be at Wembley for Euro 2020.
    Only those living in the borough of Brent will be allowed to attend the Foxes’ clash against the Saints.
    And the majority of tickets for the Carabao Cup final will be given to NHS staff as a thank you for their hard work over the pandemic.
    It is understood that local residents would also be in line to attend – putting Spurs supporters at a slight advantage with the game played in the capital.
    A small allocation for both clubs feature in the plans although it is uncertain whether Citizens fans would be allowed to travel from Manchester.
    Meanwhile Wembley bosses are hoping to be allowed up to 20,000 fans for the FA Cup Final on May 15.
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    Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “We’re finalising the details but the figure of 20,000 for the FA Cup Final is one I recognise and that seems to be the ambition.
    “We would like as many as possible as we believe is safe because these are important tests and processes to get the systems in place in terms of hygiene and other things.
    “On May 17 the goal is for major outdoor events to have capacities of 10,000 so the pilot would be pushing it beyond that, which is quite important.”
    Harry Kane gives a goal scoring masterclass in Tottenham training More

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    Wembley to host biggest post-Covid crowd of 4,000 fans for FA Cup semi-final between Leicester and Southampton

    LEICESTER’S clash with Southampton has been selected as the FA Cup semi-final that will have 4,000 spectators.But the crowd at Wembley on April 18 will be restricted to local residents living in the borough of Brent.
    Fans are set to trek up Wembley Way later this monthCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    As many as 4,000 seats could be filled for the clashCredit: REUTERS
    And the decision means the tie between Chelsea and Manchester City the previous evening will be played behind closed doors.
    The FA asked the Government to be allowed to use one of the semi-finals as part of the “pilot” programme ahead of the May 17 date for the return of crowds of up to 10,000.
    That was signed off by the DCMS but Brent Council asked for its residents to be the ones given access on safety grounds as a condition of green-lighting the trial.
    It is likely that health service and local authority employees will be invited to walk through the turnstiles, rather than fans of either side who happen to live in the borough.
    Wembley bosses are hoping to be allowed up to 20,000 fans for the FA Cup Final on May 15, as part of the ramping up efforts ahead of Euro 2020.
    The FA will tell Uefa next week that it will be seeking to allow 45,000 fans – and maybe more – for the four knockout games in the Euros it will be hosting, including both semi-finals and the Final.
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    Leicester reached their first FA Cup semi-final since 1982 with a victory over Manchester United in the quarter-finals.
    Southampton eased past Championship club Bournemouth, winning 3-0.
    Only the Saints have won the cup previously, in 1976, but their pair have lost a combined seven finals between them.
    ⚽ Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds
    Find out who is playing who in the FA Cup semi-final draw More

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    FA Cup semi-final to have fans as part of pilot to trial crowds return but other fixture will remain behind closed doors

    THE GOVERNMENT has confirmed it will back allowing 20,000 fans to attend the FA Cup Final – in a bid to speed up the return to full houses by the end of the summer.One of next month’s FA Cup semis is also in line to have be watched by a crowd as well – although that will be entirely made up of no more than 4,000 local residents.
    4,000 fans will be allowed in at one of next month’s FA Cup semi finalsCredit: REUTERS
    Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston is working with the FA, Premier League and other sports bodies ahead of the scheduled May 17 date for turnstiles to be re-opened for crowds of up to 10,000.
    The Cup Final will take place at Wembley on May 15, two days before the deadline.
    But the Government is working with the FA on a plan for Wembley to hold more than a fifth of its 90,000 capacity as one of the ‘pilot’ schemes to advance the return of supporters.
    Huddleston told LBC: “We’re finalising the details but the figure of 20,000 for the FA Cup Final is one I recognise and that seems to be the ambition.
    “We would like as many as possible as we believe is safe because these are important tests and processes to get the systems in place in terms of hygiene and other things.
    “On May 17 the goal is for major outdoor events to have capacities of 10,000 so the pilot would be pushing it beyond that, which is quite important.”
    Prem chiefs plan to shift the penultimate round of League fixtures back to May 18 and 19, allowing each club to have one home match in front of up to 10,000 supporters.
    The clubs are to urge the Government to allow 10 per cent of those crowds to be made up of away fans – the first time visiting supporters have been inside grounds since last March.
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    ⚽ Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds
    Before then, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden revealed he will back a proposal for up to 4,000 to be allowed through the Wembley gates for either Southamton’s FA Cup semi-final against Leicester on April 17 or the clash between Chelsea and Manchester City the following day.
    Tickets, though, will be strictly rationed to people who live in Brent, the borough in which the stadium sits.
    Dowden explained: The purpose of this is not so much the overall number, it is how they interact with each other and social distancing, behavioural factors.
    “We will be testing them before and after to look at spread and look at how they behave in the stadium. 
    “So we’re not just chucking everyone into the stadiums, it is being done in a very controlled way and the purpose is to get the rules set can so it can be as safe as possible from the 21 June.”
    EFL bosses are also hoping to get the green light to have up to 8,000 inside Wembley for the Carabao Cup Final between City and Spurs on April 25, although the majority would be local residents.  
    Huddleston added that the Government had embarked on a ‘cautious but hopefully irreversible roadmap’ for fans.
    That should allow supporters to also attend Wimbledon and the British Grand Prix at Silverstone at the start of July.
    He said: “If we continue as we are doing and proceed on the roadmap as planned, we should have crowds. At this stage I can’t say how many.
    “But we want to get back to full capacities as soon as possible because it is so important for the finances of the sports, who will be in jeopardy unless they can get enough people through the gates.
    “I can’t give any guarantees on the numbers yet but that is why the pilots and the next steps are so important.”
    Find out who is playing who in the FA Cup semi-final draw More

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    Hills vows to bring ‘good times’ to Charlton and targets top-flight return for Addicks’ women’s team

    KAREN HILLS wants to lead Charlton back to the top tier of the women’s game after taking up the mantle as the team’s head coach. And the ex-Tottenham boss hopes to bring the glory days back to the Addicks who are battling to avoid relegation from the Women’s Championship. 
    Karen Hill says she likes the “challenge” of helping Charlton Women become a top-flight teamCredit: Rex
    Hills, 45, was speaking to Charlton hero Scott Minto on the club’s website days after making her return to management.
    Her appointment occurred in the same week Nigel Adkins replaced Lee Bowyer as gaffer of the Addicks’ men’s side, with Bowyer replacing Aitor Karanka at Birmingham City.
    And Hills believes helping Charlton to become a force at the sport’s highest levels is the ‘perfect’ challenge for her.
    Hills said: “It’s been a bit of a whirlwind if I’m honest, and probably pretty much the same for Nigel as well.  
    “With Thomas (Sandgaard) coming in I think the club’s in fantastic shape.
    “And with the atmosphere around the training ground, it just seems that the vibe is really positive and everyone’s excited about the next chapter. 
    “For me, I like to build, I like a project, I like a challenge and I think this is a perfect fit for me at this moment in time.”
    Charlton, who are third from bottom in the Women’s Championship and three points off the drop zone, were one of the top sides in the country for seven years from 2000 to 2007. 
    Former players of the team, who take on Crystal Palace next, include Hills, Casey Stoney, Eniola Aluko and Katie Chapman. 
    The club, who were league title runners-up in 2004, are four-time Women’s FA Cup finalists, winning the trophy in 2005.
    Charlton are due to play Crystal Palace before taking on London City LionessesCredit: Zuma Press

    And Hills was part of that triumphant team captained by Stoney that beat Everton 1-0. 
    Hills added: “I’ve had the privilege to play for Charlton and I had amazing times playing in the FA Cup final and winning a FA Cup final medal. 
    “We were successful in getting four opportunities to play in the final.
    “Unfortunately we got pipped quite a lot by Arsenal because they were top of the game at that moment in time, but we were always thereabouts.
    “The women’s game at the moment is in such a fantastic shape, but you see the top division WSL and that’s where I think Charlton deserved to be.  
    “They were a huge club and we had some fantastic players when I was here playing, and I want to bring the good times back to Charlton on the pitch.
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    Charlton hope to pick up their first win of the month when they take on Crystal PalaceCredit: Zuma Press
    “I think we’ve got an opportunity to take the women forward and progress, and I’m excited to be part of that project and journey.”
    Hills played for Charlton from 2000 to 2007, before managing Tottenham for 11 years from 2009. 
    And the former Addicks defender will be aiming to lead her team to their first win of the month when they visit Palace ahead of a Sunday derby clash with London City.
    ⚽ Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds
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    Man Utd slammed as ‘flat and poor’ by Alan Shearer in damning assessment after dismal FA Cup loss at Leicester

    MANCHESTER UNITED were labelled ‘flat’ and ‘poor’ by England legend Alan Shearer after their dismal 3-1 defeat to Leicester on Sunday.The Red Devils were hoping to make it a perfect week in the cups after knocking AC Milan out of the Europa League on Thursday night.
    Manchester United crashed out of the FA CupCredit: Getty
    Alan Shearer was brutally honest on Man UtdCredit: Getty
    But they proceeded to shoot themselves in the foot at the King Power Stadium, gifting the Foxes goals as they crashed out of the FA Cup.
    And, covering the game for the BBC, Shearer didn’t hold back with his assessment.
    The 50-year-old said: “They looked very, very tired.
    “They couldn’t cope with the pace that Leicester showed this evening, even with the changes that came on didn’t make them any better.
    “It was a really flat, poor performance from them.”
    Leicester were handed the lead on a plate in the 24th minute, when Fred’s horror back-pass fell woefully short of Dean Henderson, with in-form forward Kelechi Iheanacho providing the finish.
    Mason Greenwood fired United level, before a Youri Tielemans effort and another by Iheanacho sent the Foxes through.
    Shearer felt that United’s costly errors fell right into Leicester’s trap.

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    Of Fred’s mistake, he added: “This was playing right into Leicester’s hands, it’s what they wanted them to do. They’re setting the trap and they fell into it.
    “That is a high risk pass, particularly when you’re going to take a touch as he did, Fred. And they punished him.
    “They closed him down, they were happy for United to play that ball and bang, they were straight onto him.
    “It’s a poor mistake from Fred but Iheanacho puts it away really well.”

    ⚽ Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he’s very disappointed after Man Utd loss against Leicester in FA Cup More

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    Gary Neville slams Man Utd for ‘massive missed opportunity’ of winning FA Cup and landing trophy after Leicester loss

    MANCHESTER UNITED legend Gary Neville is ‘demoralised’ after the club’s FA Cup exit and has hit out at Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for rotating the team.The Red Devils crashed out at the quarter-final stage after they were beaten 3-1 by Leicester at the King Power Stadium on Sunday.
    Manchester United were deservedly beaten by LeicesterCredit: Getty
    Gary Neville has spoke of his disappointment at Manchester United crashing out of the FA CupCredit: PA
    Kelechi Iheanacho opened the scoring as he latched onto a poor pass from Fred, before Mason Greenwood fired the visitors back on level terms before the break.
    Youri Tielemans then put the Foxes back in front with a low strike into the bottom left corner, with Iheanacho grabbing his second of the game with a header in the 78th minute.
    Boss Solskjaer made five changes from the side that beat AC Milan 1-0 at the San Siro on Thursday, and Neville cannot understand why rotate for such an important game.
    Speaking on his podcast with Sky Sports, he said: “It had been a good week. Not surprising that they go to Milan and did what they did, they are good away from home, then beating West Ham last week.
    “I’m surprised the team was weakened against Leicester, I’m surprised he (Solskjaer) rotated as much, I know he has been doing that, but this was a real chance.
    “If you think the semi-final draw that occurred at half-time of that game which meant the winner of the Leicester vs Manchester United tie would play Southampton.
    “It is not a gimme against Southampton by any stretch of the imagination, but what an opportunity and I genuinely believe that that group of players need to win a trophy under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.”
    Before adding: “Yes, of course finishing second would be the priority at the start of the season, but winning a trophy with that would be a real priority and now they only have the Europa League left.
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    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side lost 3-1 to Leicester at the King Power Stadium on SundayCredit: Getty

    “Leicester have a decent record, but I was in the car listening to it on the radio and they go behind and you think ‘here we go’ and you are not surprised with United.
    “But they got back in the game and then you see the second and third ones and you think that could be a massive missed opportunity.
    “I am demoralised a little bit as a Manchester United fan as I thought that was a really good one to go for this season.”
    Solskjaer claimed after the Leicester defeat that their busy schedule and their trip to Italy played a key part in their FA Cup exit.
    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he’s very disappointed after Man Utd loss against Leicester in FA Cup More