Italian Government sets out path for return to full stadia capacity

The Italian Government has announced it is working on a plan to return sports venues to full capacity for the first time since the outbreak of COVID-19, beginning with an initial increase next month.

Unlike other nations, Italy has never returned its sports venues to full capacity since March 2020. Stadia are currently operating at 50% capacity following a period last month when strict restrictions were in place.

Stadiums were only able to welcome a maximum of 5,000 fans from January 15 to February 5 after clubs voted to introduce tougher measures to combat the spread of COVID-19. It was previously agreed that outdoor stadiums in Italy would be limited to 50% capacity, but those restrictions were made even tighter in light of the “exponential growth” in COVID-19 cases.

Italian news agency ANSA has now reported that a plan is in the works for a return to full capacity. A Government statement said the Minister of Health, Roberto Speranza, and Undersecretary for Sport, Valentina Vezzali “are working together on a gradual process that foresees the reopening to maximum capacity of the outdoor and indoor sports facilities”.

The statement added: “Work is being carried out on a first enlargement, starting from March 1, which will bring the limit of capacities, respectively outdoors and indoors, to 75% and 60%. To then continue with complete reopening should the epidemiological situation continue the downward trend.”

Vezzali said: “The downward trend in the epidemiological picture pushes us to be confident. The increase in the capacity limit and the start of a gradual path that will allow us to return to 100% as soon as possible is a goal that I have been working on for some time.”

Image: Gaetano Capaldo/CC BY 4.0/Edited for size