Carabao Cup in April as COVID bang up London

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England league cup final postponed Image: MJR Group Ltd./Coliseum

This season’s Carabao Cup final at Wembley Stadium in London will take place in April, two months later than initially planned, in the hope that more fans will be able to attend the match. The reason behind pushing back the soccer showpiece is that London is caught in the vortex of a new coronavirus variant.

The final had been due to take place on February 28th, 2021, but the English Football League (EFL) announced on December 21st that it will now be held on April 25th.

The EFL Cup, currently known as the Carabao Cup for sponsorship reasons, is an annual knockout football competition in men’s domestic English football.

The English Football League is a league competition featuring professional association football clubs from England and Wales. Founded in 1888 as the Football League, the league is the oldest such competition in world football.

The EFL said its objective is to stage the final with “as many supporters in attendance as possible”. The exact number of fans that will be permitted at the final is currently unclear, with guidelines subject to change between now and April.

Wembley Stadium is a football stadium in Wembley, London. It opened in 2007 on the site of the original Wembley Stadium, which was demolished from 2002 to 2003. The stadium hosts major football matches including home matches of the England national football team, and the Football Association (FA) Cup final.

The FA Cup, known officially as the Football Association Challenge Cup, is an annual knockout football competition in men’s domestic English football. First played during the 1871-72 season, it is the oldest national football competition in the world.

“The number of fans permitted will be dependent on Government guidance in place at the time and it is hoped that moving the date to later in the year will give clubs and their fans the best opportunity to attend in person,” the EFL said in a statement.

The Carabao Cup quarter-finals took place on December 22nd and December 23rd.

No fans are presently allowed at football matches in London after the capital was placed in the strictest lockdown tier as the United Kingdom faces a very grave COVID-19 situation. Only four Premier League clubs – Liverpool F.C., Everton FC, Southampton F.C. and Brighton & Hove Albion F.C. – are presently able to welcome fans to their grounds as they are based in Tier 2 areas, where up to 2,000 spectators are allowed.

Clubs in London had been able to welcome 2,000 fans earlier this month but the capital moved into Tier 3 of England’s COVID-19 lockdown system last week. London has since been placed into a new Tier 4, which was introduced in large parts of southeast England amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.

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