Sports venues in Ireland will be free to open at full capacity from Friday following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in the country.

The announcement by the Irish Government will enable Dublin’s Aviva Stadium to welcome a capacity crowd for the national football team’s FIFA World Cup qualifier against Portugal on November 11.

Ireland’s men’s rugby union team’s fixtures against Japan, New Zealand and Argentina next month are also set to go ahead at full capacity, while the women’s team’s matches against USA and Japan can go ahead without restrictions.

Aviva Stadium, which has a capacity of 50,000, will also host the FAI Cup final on November 28.

Outdoor sports venues in Ireland are currently restricted to 50% capacity but this will be lifted from Friday. The Irish Government has also confirmed that COVID-19 passes would not apply for outdoor events but will be needed for indoor hospitality and events.

The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) was hit hard by the pandemic, with its gate receipts falling by around €5.8m (£4.9m/$6.8m) for the 2019-20 season as the lack of Six Nations and Pro14 matches proved costly for the governing body.

Aviva Stadium had been due to stage matches at the UEFA European Championship during the summer but it was dropped as a host venue amid uncertainty over its ability to welcome fans.

The three Group E matches initially scheduled for Aviva Stadium were relocated to Saint Petersburg’s Gazprom Arena, while its round of 16 match was moved to London’s Wembley Stadium.

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