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UEFA ends fan attendance limit ahead of Euros decision

UEFA has today (Wednesday) overturned its stance that stadia are only allowed to host matches in its competitions at up to 30% capacity as it draws closer to making a final decision on the plan for the postponed Euro 2020.

An Executive Committee meeting of European football’s governing body today reviewed the decision on a 30% capacity attendance cap that was implemented back in October amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

UEFA said: “The Committee decided that in light of the fact that each of UEFA’s 55 member associations faces a different situation with regard to tackling the pandemic, such a cap is no longer needed and that the decision on the number of permitted spectators should fall under the exclusive responsibility of the relevant competent local/national authorities.”

Consequently, the previously UEFA-imposed spectator attendance limit of a maximum of 30% of the relevant stadium’s seating capacity has been lifted, as well as the prohibition for spectators to attend futsal matches.

However, in view of the ongoing travel restrictions and in order to enact “reasonable and responsible policies” to minimise COVID-19 related risks, UEFA has decided to retain October’s policy of a ban on away or visiting fans. This is valid until prior to the club competition finals scheduled for May.

In January, UEFA appointed Dr Daniel Koch, former head of communicable diseases at Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), to aid its planning for fan attendance at Euro 2020. Earlier, UEFA reiterated its commitment to staging this summer’s European Championships across 12 host cities and gave venues until early April to make a decision on fan attendance.

The rescheduled Euro 2020 is due to take place from June 11 to July 11. The tournament, initially scheduled for last summer, will be held in 12 cities across the continent but the ongoing pandemic has created fresh challenges in organising what is a unique edition of the tournament.

Earlier this week, UK Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said he was confident that large numbers of fans will be able to attend matches at Wembley Stadium during the latter stages of the European Championships, while the president of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC), Gabriele Gravina, said he is also hopeful that the opening match of the tournament in Rome will go ahead with supporters.

Euro 2020 host cities have until April 7 to inform UEFA of their fan attendance plans for the tournament ahead of a UEFA Executive Committee meeting on April 19. As well as London and Rome, Euro 2020 matches will be held in Glasgow, Dublin, Copenhagen, Bilbao, Amsterdam, Munich, Budapest, Bucharest, Saint Petersburg and Baku.

Last week, Danish Culture Minister Joy Mogensen confirmed that Copenhagen’s Parken Stadium will be able to welcome at least 11,000 fans for its matches at the tournament. Plans are also being drawn up for Saint Petersburg’s Gazprom Arena to open at 50% capacity, while Hungary has indicated that only vaccinated fans will be allowed to attend games at Budapest’s Puskás Aréna.

It was reported earlier this month that Bilbao, Dublin and Glasgow were at risk of losing hosting rights amid uncertainty over whether fans will be able to attend games.

Image: UEFA