On Wednesday afternoon, ticket sales for Hungarian fans for the upcoming European Football Championship started again: interest in the event was so huge that all tickets were sold out in very little time. The matches are planned for mid-June in the Puskás Stadium in front of a full-house fan base, however, many fear the epidemiological consequences of such a decision. After all, Hungary is the only country which has allowed full-house matches.
The Hungarian Football Federation reported that from Wednesday morning onwards fans would be able to purchase tickets online for upcoming matches in mid-June. According to the announcement, tickets were available from 2 pm. Those who were crafty, however, could start the process even earlier: on the UEFA sales site, the desired tickets could be selected a few minutes before 2 pm, and although the system had a wait time, once access was granted, people could go through the purchase process quickly.
However, according to fans, those who tried to buy their tickets at 15:45 were unable to do so, since tickets had already been sold out.
The Hungarian national team will play at least three matches in the group rounds of the European Football Championship:
- June 15 (Tuesday), 18:00: Hungary-Portugal (Budapest)
- June 19 (Saturday), 15:00: Hungary-France (Budapest)
- June 23 (Wednesday), 21:00: Germany-Hungary (Munich)
The Portugal-France match on June 23 (Wednesday) and one of the eight-finals will take place in Budapest, but ticket sales for these events have not yet been opened to Hungarian fans.
FactDue to the pandemic, this year fans will have to meet strict criteria in order to attend matches. Only those who hold immunity certificates will be eligible to enter the stadium. People who have been vaccinated at least once, or those who have recovered from the coronavirus in the past six months, will be able to receive such certificates.
It is not yet known how many tickets UEFA has launched on the market, but it is clear from their demand that there will probably be a full house at the matches in the 68,000 Puskás Stadium. A statement was published on the UEFA website as well, according to which, due to great interest, tickets for the matches of the Hungarian national football team have already run out. So stragglers will not have another opportunity.
Football match attendance has long been the subject of heated debate in Hungary, especially since the ban on visiting matches was ordered quite late during autumn, weeks after the second wave of the coronavirus hit the country hard. Now, at the beginning of April, only Hungary decided to undertake a full house approach for the Euro 2021 matches being held during the pandemic. Russia and Azerbaijan were second in bravery (or recklessness, as some believe): they are allowing stadiums to fill to half their capacity for the European championship matches. Other countries preferred to sell only 25 percent of their stadiums’ capacities to fans.
Many think that allowing spectators to go into stadiums would be too dangerous in light of the current epidemic. As a matter of fact, immunity certificates are given to people after their first vaccination, which does not automatically mean a necessary level of protection against the coronavirus. However, the government argues that by the time the matches are due, Hungary will achieve large-scale immunity among its population, and thus the events will not pose a significant threat to spectators.
Featured photo by Tibor Illyés/MTI