The English Football League (EFL) will pay tribute to the NHS at its Carabao Cup Final taking place today, Sunday 25 April, at Wembley. Finalists Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur are among 92 Clubs across the EFL and Premier League that have come together to say a special ‘thank you’ to workers from the NHS for their unwavering support that has been provided throughout the pandemic. Brentford, who reached the Semi-Final of the competition, joined in with the thank you.
Before kick-off at 4.30pm, a ‘Thank you NHS’ video will be played featuring Club managers, captains and players, with an on-pitch banner being unveiled. Goalkeeper Luke Daniels will be the Brentford representative in the video. Luke's wife and sister both work in the NHS.
Shortly afterwards, there will be a special video appearance from the NHS Chorus-19, a virtual choir network made up of over 1,000 NHS staff past and present from across the country. The choir will lead the National Anthem. Set up in March 2020, members of NHS Chorus-19 meet regularly online to make music together and boost morale through song with the aim of spreading positive and informative messages during the pandemic.
A spokesperson for the virtual choir said: “The NHS Chorus-19 was delighted to be asked to sing the National Anthem for the Carabao Cup Final. The last year has been such a tough one for all NHS workers, and our various choir projects have proved to be a great source of light relief, community and joy. Just over a year after the start of the pandemic, it will be a wonderful feeling to see all of our members from across the country singing on the big screen at Wembley.”
Trevor Birch, EFL Chief Executive, said: “This weekend’s Carabao Cup Final is one of a number of steps being taken to help ensure the safe return of fans to football stadiums across the country in the coming months, with 8,000 supporters and local people welcomed back through the turnstiles at Wembley Stadium on Sunday. It’s only right that we use this opportunity to say a special ‘thank you’ to all of the NHS workers that have been instrumental in getting the country to this stage in the easing of restrictions, and it’s an honour to have so many members of the NHS, through NHS Chorus-19, leading the National Anthem ahead of the game.”
The 2021 Carabao Cup final between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur is the first football fixture to have club supporters back in the stands, as the event was selected to be part of the UK Government’s Events Research programme – a series of scientific pilot events that will help gather insight and evidence to help aid the safe re-introduction of crowds at events. There are 8,000 people, including 2,000 supporters from each Club and NHS staff will be permitted to attend the game at Wembley, marking a welcome return to country’s national game.