Stadiums will be permitted to reopen where local laws permit, though away fans are still not yet able to return
Fans will be able to return to UEFA club and international matches starting at next week’s international break, UEFA has announced.
Stadiums will be allowed to be filled to a maximum of 30 per cent capacity, and will only reopen where local laws permit. No away fans will be allowed at this stage due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The decision has been made after the trial which saw around 15,000 fans in the stadium for Bayern Munich’s UEFA Super Cup win over Sevilla. The pilot match was deemed a success despite host city Budapest recording a rise in infection numbers ahead of the event.
A UEFA statement further clarified: “Both the admission of fans and the capacity limit are subject to decision of local authorities. UEFA matches cannot be played with spectators where local authorities do not allow it and the limit of 30% may be reached only where the limit set by local authorities is not lower, in which case such limit would apply.
“Social distancing will be mandatory for spectators and additional precautionary measures, such as the wearing of masks must be implemented in accordance with local regulations.
“The UEFA Super Cup demonstrated that it is possible for fans to attend football matches in the right circumstances by putting their health and safety first with comprehensive mitigating measures in place. The match also demonstrated the acceptance of fans for precautionary sanitary measures and their readiness to follow them and behave accordingly.”
While there seems little immediate prospect of stadiums reopening in the Premier League, fans have returned in reduced numbers in both the Bundesliga and Ligue 1.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said: “Today’s decision is a sensible first step which puts fans’ health first and respects the laws in each country. While we all face a common enemy in Covid, different countries have different approaches and different challenges at any given moment.
“This decision allows much more local flexibility to deal with admitting fans than was previously the case, always respecting the assessment of local authorities.
“Twenty-seven countries on the continent already allow fans to some extent. This decision will allow for a coherent approach on a country-by-country basis and not on a competition-by-competition basis which was sometimes difficult to understand for fans.
“In these difficult times, it is important to bring more hope and passion back into the lives of football fans and we urge them to behave appropriately and respect sanitary measures in place for their own health and for the health of their fellow club or national team supporters.”
As the coronavirus pandemic continues, however, there remains caution with Borussia Dortmund director Michael Zorc recently airing his concerns that the Champions League should not be played in its current format due to Covid-19