There is a chance that the Euro 2021 matches Hungary hosts will be played in front of 67,000 fans, sports daily Nemzeti Sport surmises, based on the Hungarian Football Association’s announcement that it wants as many people in the stadiums as possible.
This week, all 12 host cities, including Budapest, submitted their ideas and plans for the European Football Championship which are scheduled for this summer after it was postponed last year due to the pandemic. Prior to this, the UEFA emphasized that only those cities which can guarantee admission to a certain number of spectators into the stadium could host.
According to tournament director, Martin Kallen, there are huge differences in the extent to which each host city wants to utilize their stadium capacity, but he did not reveal how many spectators each venue is counting on.
Since then, it was revealed that Bilbao stated that due to the pandemic situation, it would not allow fans to enter the stadium at all, making it doubtful if the city in Spain can host any matches after all. But Bilbao was not the only one that confronted the UEFA’s “open door” policy: both Dublin and Rome revealed they cannot guarantee that the Euro matches will be played in front of fans, since the pandemic situation is ever-changing and there are still two months left until the European championship kicks off. It means that both the Italian and Irish cities’ chances to host are at risk. Glasgow would welcome fans, but only one-fourth of the stadium’s capacity can be filled with spectators.
Meanwhile, the Hungarian Football Association (MLSZ) stated it would prefer if the matches were seen by as “many fans as possible in the stadium,” depending on the epidemiological situation, adding: “Of course, the security and epidemic rules should be observed to the utmost.”
Although the first stage of Hungary’s reopening coincided with UEFA’s deadline, stirring a political debate in Hungary, MLSZ spokesman Jenő Sipos said these events were not linked. “If the deadline had been two weeks earlier or two weeks later, MLSZ would have given the same answer,” he said.
The government has already stated that only vaccinated fans can attend the matches in Puskás Arena and having the vaccination certficate will be key to access. According to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, by June everyone registered in Hungary will have received their jabs. Based on this, large crowds can be expected.
However, MLSZ has still yet to make its final decision on the matter. Spokesman Sipos said that they need to send the final attendance numbers to the UEFA by April 28th.
Budapest is scheduled to host three Group F matches on June 15, 19, and 23rd, and a round of 16 match on June 27th.
Featured photo illustration by Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI