Championship clubs Brentford and Swansea City have urged the UK government to increase capacity limits for Saturday’s play-off final match at Wembley Stadium.
The government’s roadmap out of lockdown currently means that no more than 10,000 fans can attend events at large outdoor stadiums. With Wembley having a seating capacity of 90,000, Brentford and Swansea are calling for more fans to be allowed in the ground for the fixture.
Earlier this month, Wembley welcomed around 21,000 supporters for the FA Cup final between Leicester City and Chelsea, which served as the final test event for fan attendance ahead of the wider return of supporters on May 17.
Brentford and Swansea have been allocated 4,000 tickets each for Saturday’s match and the clubs have held discussions with the English Football League (EFL) and the Football Association (FA) over the possibility of allowing more fans. The BBC has reported that the EFL is in talks to increase clubs’ allocations by an extra 750 tickets.
Brentford chief executive Jon Varney said that while the EFL and FA have been sympathetic and supportive, they are powerless to help without government intervention.
Varney added: “We feel it is unjust that only a few days ago, more than 20,000 fans were admitted to the FA Cup final and advanced discussions were taking place for Wembley to host the Champions League final with a similar number of fans attending.
“We find it incredulous and unjustifiable that the Championship play-off final will be restricted to just half that number. The 12 Sky Bet play-off semi-finalists joined together last week to plead for an increased capacity, but to no avail. We want to make one last call for something to be done to allow more fans in.
“This is not just a matter for Brentford. We saw this weekend a reminder of what it is like when grounds have fans in. The final will be a better spectacle for all with more people inside the ground and we hope something can be done.”
Swansea chief executive Julian Winter added: “We were naturally disappointed when we were informed of the allocation for the play-off final. The general admission number is approximately 4,000 for each team which seems unfair, considering the size and capacity of Wembley Stadium. All 12 play-off semi-finalists wrote to the EFL and FA last week to ask for increased numbers, but this was unsuccessful.
“The FA Cup final recently hosted over 20,000 spectators which helped generate a fantastic atmosphere for both teams – something which has been sorely missed over the past 14 months. Supporters are the lifeblood of the game we all love, and it is such a shame that more of them cannot be at Wembley to cheer on their team in what will be a brilliant occasion for all those clubs involved in the play-off final weekend.”
A petition has been launched to try and get the government to change restrictions for Saturday’s match, as well as the League One and League Two play-off finals at Wembley on Sunday and Monday. Over 9,000 people had signed the petition at the time of writing.