UEFA

European football’s governing body UEFA has announced that it will allow the return of fans in its competitions, at a limit of 30% stadium capacity where local laws permit.

The decision by the UEFA Executive Committee comes after the staging of the Super Cup in Budapest on September 24. The match between Bayern Munich and Sevilla at Puskás Aréna was used as a pilot event by UEFA and was deemed a success with around 15,000 fans in attendance.

Fans are now set to return from next week’s national team matches, but away supporters will not be allowed into the games until further notice. UEFA stressed that 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.

These measures form part of the ‘UEFA Minimum Health and Hygiene Requirements for the Return of Spectators‘ which were approved by the Executive Committee and which match organisers will have to respect. However, UEFA said the exact health and safety measures that must be adopted must be based on the local situation and on specific laws and regulations imposed by local authorities.

UEFA said the 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 governing body added that the match also demonstrated the acceptance of fans for precautionary sanitary measures and their readiness to follow them and behave accordingly.

The decision is set to be welcomed by national associations including the Belgian Football Association (RBFA). Earlier this week, the RBFA said UEFA rejected a proposal for fans to be in place for the friendly match between Belgium and the Ivory Coast on October 8. The RBFA had planned to have 11,000 fans in King Baudouin Stadium after establishing a protocol with Brussels authorities, adding that “everything is now ready” to do so.

Commenting on the Executive Committee’s decision, UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin, said: “The 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.”

F1

Promoters of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Italy’s Imola circuit have announced that more than 13,000 spectators will be permitted entrance per day as part of continuing plans to return fans to Formula 1 events.

Imola will return to the F1 calendar for the first time since 2006 when it stages its race on October 31 to November 1. It is the third Italian grand prix on F1’s COVID-19 amended calendar for the 2020 season.

“Thanks to the precise and meticulous anti-COVID health security protocol presented to the Emilia-Romagna Region, it was possible to obtain a significant public presence, more than 13,000 people for each race day,” organisers said in a statement.

While the first eight races of the 2020 season were held without fans, tickets have now started to be sold. Some 2,800 fans per day were in attendance at last month’s Tuscan GP at Mugello, while last weekend’s Russian GP in Sochi had around 30,000 spectators per day.

Plans are also in place for fans to attend the Eifel Grand Prix at Germany’s Nurburgring on October 9-11 and the Portuguese Grand Prix at Portimao on October 23-25.

NFL

The Indianapolis Colts have been given the green light to boost attendances at Lucas Oil Stadium to up to 12,500, as the franchise continues to ease fans back.

The Colts were one of the teams that were allowed to have fans in place for their home opener of the 2020 season, with up to 2,500 fans at their first game against Minnesota Vikings and up to 7,500 fans at last Sunday’s game against the New York Jets.

The Colts will now host up to 12,500 attendees at Lucas Oil Stadium for the team’s third home game on October 18 versus the Cincinnati Bengals following talks with the Marion County (Ind.) Public Health Department. Normal capacity for Colts homes games at the stadium is 63,000.

Tickets will continue to be sold in ‘pods’ to maintain physical distancing between unrelated groups. Colts staff will continue to meet with local health officials to discuss capacity for future games this season.

Image: UEFA