The City of Rio de Janeiro has unveiled plans for fans to return to stadiums from September 2, dependent on the COVID-19 situation continuing to decline.

The Brazilian city’s authorities yesterday (Thursday) announced that a series of events, under the ‘Rio de Novo’ banner, will be planned to mark the reopening, culminating with a municipal holiday on September 2, 2022.

Rio is planning a three-step reopening, with the first phase on September 2 set to permit stadia to allow fully vaccinated fans to enter, up to 50% capacity. From October 17, full capacity sporting events are set to be allowed for those who have been fully vaccinated.

For the reopening, the City plans that, by September, 77% of the population will have already received the first dose of the vaccine against COVID-19, with 45% having already received the second jab or the single-use vaccine.

A statement read: “Rio City Hall’s resumption planning follows international standards and successful protocols carried out in other countries. The United States, Spain, Germany, France, Italy, Israel and the United Kingdom eased restrictions based on vaccine schemes with lower percentages than those established by the City of Rio.”

Rio de Novo is set to encompass Taça Renasce Rio, a special football match lined up for the Maracanã (pictured), as part of an initial round of events planned for September 2-5. Earlier this month, a crowd of around 7,000 guests watched the Copa América final between Brazil and Argentina at the iconic Rio stadium.

The final on July 10, which finished 1-0 to Argentina, was the first match of the tournament to take place with fans in the stands after COVID-19 guidelines forced games to be held behind closed doors.

The Maracanã could yet allow fans back in before September 2. Speaking yesterday, Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes said the municipal health department is analysing a request from Flamengo to allow its fans into the Maracanã for the club’s Copa Libertadores quarter-final tie against Paraguay’s Club Olimpia on August 18.

The City has today accepted this request, but only for 10% capacity at the Maracanã. Reacting to the news, Flamengo’s vice-president of finance, Rodrigo Dunshee de Abrantes, said on Twitter that such a move would be “financially unsustainable” due to the costs involved in opening up the stadium to the public.

In other news, the Federação Pernambucana de Futebol (FPF) and Federação Cearense de Futebol (FCF) have teamed up with Mooh!Tech, a French-Brazilian startup, to introduce a vaccine passport system for fans.

According to Brazilian sports newspaper Lance! the governing bodies for football in the states of Pernambuco and Ceará will roll out Mooh!Tech’s Chronos i-Passport system to help return fans to their stadia.

Image: Martin Aarflot on Unsplash