Culture secretary Oliver Dowden has announced that one of next month’s FA Cup semi-final matches will be used as a pilot event for the return of spectators.

Either Chelsea vs Manchester City or Leicester City vs Southampton, on 17 and 18 April respectively, will be selected for the pilot event. 

It follows DCMS’ announcement earlier this month that around a dozen events would be part of the Events Research Programme’s (ERP) pilot events project. 

The FA Cup final on 15 May and the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield from 17 April are also part of the trial programme. 

In an interview with BBC Sport, Dowden said, ”We want to get as many people back as safely as possible,” adding that more pilot events will be announced later this week.

“The plan is to look at factors like one-way systems, ventilation within a stadium and how you interact in terms of getting to and from the venue.

“So it’s the social distancing that they have from each other. It’s the behavioural factors. We will be testing them before and after to look at spread and look how they behave in the stadium.

“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.”

According to the Government conditional reopening roadmap, sporting venues will be allowed to operate at 25% capacity, with a maximum of 10,000 fans from 17 May – followed by the lifting of all social distancing restrictions from 21 June.