Uefa will allow fans to attend all of its matches this season in locations where local laws permit, starting with next week’s international games.
Fans have been absent from the vast majority of football matches across Europe since the coronavirus pandemic began to greatly affect the continent in March, and planned pilot events allowing a small number of supporters into stadia in Britain were delayed last month due to a spike in Covid-19 cases in the country.
Last week, however, the Uefa Super cup between Champions League winners Bayern Munich and Europa League titleholders Sevilla went ahead in Budapest, Hungary with approximately 20,000 fans in attendance – almost a third of the Puskas Arena’s capacity.
And European football governing body Uefa announced on Thursday that crowds will be returning to games under their jurisdiction soon due to the success of the Super Cup.
“The Uefa Executive Committee today decided, following the successful pilot match that was held at the Uefa Super Cup in Budapest on 24 September, to allow the partial return of spectators for Uefa matches where local laws permit, starting from next week’s national team matches,” read a statement released on Thursday.
“The number of spectators will be capped at a maximum of 30 percent of the respective stadium capacity and away supporters will not be allowed into the games until further notice.
“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 percent 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.
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.
“27 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.”
England host Belgium in the Uefa Nations League on Sunday 11 October, but as things stand, local laws will not permit fans to attend the event.