By Andrew Warshaw
April 1 – With a view to having as many fans as possible at this summer’s delayed European Championship finals, UEFA has scrapped its own ceiling on stadium capacity for fixtures that come under its jurisdiction.
By ending the 30% spectator limit in stadiums imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic, UEFA are potentially allowing the 13 pan-European venues to choose their own restrictions.
For the moment, however, visiting fans are still not being allowed to travel to UEFA fixtures but this will end before the Champions League final on May 29 in Istanbul.
“Such a (30%) cap is no longer needed and… the decision on the number of permitted spectators should fall under the exclusive responsibility of the relevant competent local/national authorities,” European football’s governing body said after a meeting of its executive committee
“In view of the ongoing travel restrictions and in order to enact reasonable and responsible policies to minimize Covid-19 related risks, the Executive Committee decided to confirm the decision of 1 October 2020 insofar that visiting fans are not allowed to attend UEFA competition matches.”
“This is valid until prior to the club competition finals taking place in May 2021.”
Host cities have until April 7 to let UEFA know what their scenarios are in terms of attendance ahead of another exco meeting on April 19 that falls on the eve of Uefa’s annual congress in Montreux, Switzerland.
UEFA wants to finalise plans with each host city for how many spectators they expect to allow safely into their stadiums and is still exploring the option of dropping certain venues if supporters are barred because of Covid-19.
Dublin could reportedly be most at risk, with authorities in Bilbao, Glasgow and Munich also previously indicating they might need more time to decide on protocols. Russian officials confirmed Wednesday that St. Petersburg’s 65,000-seat stadium will be filled to at least 50% capacity for its four games.
London will host seven games – three group games, a round of 16 game, plus the semi-finals and the final – at Wembley Stadium and this week it emerged that the English FA was hoping for 45,000 fans at Wembley for the knock-out stages of the tournament.
In another decision for Euro 2020, UEFA will allow five substitutes in normal time instead of three. The five-subs rule has been used by most competitions during the pandemic to protect players from injury with so many fixtures squeezed into a congested calendar.
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