NYON: European federation UEFA has decided, after the pilot UEFA Super Cup in Budapest on last week, to approve the partial return of fans for its competitions – as long as local government and health controls permit.

The executive committee has ruled that the number of spectators – starting with next week’s national team matches – should be capped at a maximum of 30pc of stadium capacity. Away supporters remain barred.

President Aleksander Čeferin, said: “This is a sensible first step which puts fans’ health first and respects the laws in each country.  While we all face a common enemy in Covid-19, different countries have different approaches and different challenges at any given moment.

“The decision allows much more local flexibility to deal with admitting fans than was previously the case, always respecting the assessment of local authorities.

“Some 27 countries on the continent already allow fans to some extent. This decision will allow for a coherent approach on a country-by-country basis and not on a competition-by-competition basis which was sometimes difficult to understand for fans.

“In these difficult times, it is important to bring more hope and passion back into the lives of football fans and we urge them to behave appropriately and respect sanitary measures in place for their own health and for the health of their fellow club or national team supporters.”

A statement from UEFA explained:

Both the admission of fans and the capacity limit are subject to decision of local authorities. UEFA matches cannot be played with spectators where local authorities do not allow it and the limit of 30% may be reached only where the limit set by local authorities is not lower, in which case such limit would apply.

Social distancing will be mandatory for spectators and additional precautionary measures such as the wearing of masks must be implemented in accordance with local regulations.

These measures form part of the ‘UEFA Minimum Health and Hygiene Requirements for the Return of Spectators‘ which were approved by the UEFA Executive Committee and which match organisers will have to respect. However, the exact health and safety measures that must be adopted must be based on the local situation and on specific laws and regulations imposed by competent local authorities.

The UEFA Super Cup demonstrated that it is possible for fans to attend football matches in the right circumstances by putting their health and safety first with comprehensive mitigating measures in place. The match also demonstrated the acceptance of fans for precautionary sanitary measures and their readiness to follow them and behave accordingly.