The Italian Government has announced its guidance for fans to return to sporting venues, with the use of a COVID-19 ‘Green Pass’ required to enter stadia and arenas.

The announcement was made as the Council of Ministers, on the proposal of President Mario Draghi and Minister of Health Roberto Speranza, yesterday (Thursday) resolved to extend the national state of emergency until December 31.

Along with entry to sporting events, the Green Pass will be harnessed for access to a range of other entertainment and cultural offerings, from August 6. The Green Pass will prove that a user has either received at least the first vaccine dose, or has recovered from COVID-19 infection. Italian citizens will also be able to access events by returning a negative rapid molecular or antigen test.

The Government has set out capacity limits for sporting venues, with fans only able to attend if their region sits in the lesser two of the four colour zones. In white regions, permitted capacities cannot exceed 50% for outdoor venues and 25% for indoor arenas. In yellow regions, this limit falls to 25% capacity, capped at 2,500 for outdoor venues and 1,000 for indoor.

Speaking at a press conference, Speranza said: “The Green Pass tool has already been used by millions of Italians, for example to attend weddings. From today, we are extending this tool to other services, including sporting events.

“Over 40 million Italians have already downloaded the green certification and have used it to attend ceremonies or to visit their relatives in health facilities. With the new decree we extend this tool also to swimming pools, wellness centres, gyms and outdoor shows, including sports competitions.”

Andrea Costa, Undersecretary to the Ministry of Health, said last month that Italian Serie A football stadia would operate at 25% capacity when the 2021-22 season commences. The 2021-22 campaign is due to start on August 22, with Italian domestic football being mainly held behind closed doors since the outbreak of COVID-19 in March 2020.

The Italian Government officially closed football stadia to fans on March 4, 2020. A partial reopening was set for the month of October, when a maximum of 1,000 fans were permitted entry to grounds. However, this only lasted through to October 25 when stadia were shut again.

Italian football began to see another reopening of stadia at the end of the 2020-21 season. Inter Milan was granted permission to have spectators in the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza (pictured) for its crowning as the new Serie A champion on May 23.

For the final home game of the season against Udinese, 1,000 spectators were permitted entry, but these people were considered guests of Inter, such as club employees, sponsors and families of the players.

Authorities also granted permission for the 2021 Coppa Italia final to have fans in attendance. The game on May 19, which saw Juventus defeat Atalanta 2-1, was held at Mapei Stadium in Reggio Emilia, home to Serie A club Sassuolo.

Mapei Stadium has a capacity of 21,000 and the government approved attendance for the Coppa Italia final at 20%, roughly equating to 4,300 fans.

In April, Rome confirmed it would be able to host the opening ceremony and first match of UEFA Euro 2020 after Italian authorities agreed to a plan that would allow at least 18,000 fans to attend games at the Stadio Olimpico.

Image: D7ckon/CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size