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UEFA lifts restrictions on stadium fans before Euro 2020

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Image source: AP

Spectators watch during the 2022 Group G World Cup qualifier between the Netherlands and Latvia at Johan Cruyff ArenaA in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Saturday, March 27

In order to have more fans at this year’s European Championship games, UEFA on Wednesday lifted its own capacity limit at the stadium for matches it organizes during the coronavirus pandemic.

UEFA has said that the 30% full stadium restriction, which was imposed in October, is no longer necessary. Local officials have the ultimate power.

“(B) the number of authorized spectators must be the sole responsibility of the relevant competent local / national authorities,” the UEFA statement said.

The seasonal ban on ticket sales for traveling fans was also extended until mid-May, ending before the Champions League final on May 29th in Istanbul.

Fans have failed to attend most UEFA matches this season in the Champions League and Europa League. The national team’s games are affected in the Euro 2020 qualifiers and the 2022 World Cup, plus last year’s League of Nations.

Euro 2020 starts after a one-year postponement on June 11 in Rome – one of the 12 host cities in Europe. UEFA wants to finalize plans with each host city in April for the number of fans they expect to safely admit to their stadiums.

Cities that are unable or unwilling to give UEFA the assurances they want may be rejected by the project.

This month, UEFA cites “the need to consider whether it would make sense to play without fans, or whether such matches should be redeployed elsewhere.”

Dublin may be the most endangered, with authorities in Bilbao, Glasgow and Munich also saying earlier that they may need more time to decide on safe protocols as the rate of COVID-19 infection rises again.

Russian authorities confirmed on Wednesday that the 65,000-seat stadium in St. Petersburg will be filled with at least 50% capacity for its four matches.

London will host seven matches – three group, quarter-finals, plus the semi-finals and the final at Wembley Stadium. The remaining 11 cities must host three group matches and one knockout in the round of 16 or quarterfinals.

In another decision related to the Euro 2020 pandemic, UEFA will allow teams to use five substitutes during regulation instead of three. The five subsystem rule is used by most races during a pandemic to protect players from injury in a congested calendar.

UEFA is also considering whether the 24 teams can have bigger teams than the usual pools of 23 players selected for tournaments.

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