European Super Cup Steers UEFA Fan Direction

European Super Cup Steers UEFA Fan Direction
The European Super Cup is the curtain raiser to the continental season and with Champions League winners Bayern Munich and Europa League winners Sevilla squaring off, it was the German giants who ran out eventual winners in extra-time. While although Bayern’s first piece of silverware will have been warmly received within Bavaria, the larger focus will have been placed on those who were fortunate enough to be in attendance and the next steps that UEFA will look to take regarding attendance.

With the Ferenc Puskas Stadium being afforded the ability to host the showpiece event, the venue within the Hungarian capital of Budapest, would warmly welcome as many as 15,500 supporters to the ground.

A figure that is 30% of the stadium’s capacity and although this would have meant that plenty of empty seats, the sight of supporters being in attendance is one that UEFA and the European football fraternity can take joy from.

To the point where UEFA are now looking to press ahead with the 30% rule and this means that for all international and club tournament matches that are played under their governance, the same percentage will be allowed into respective stadia.

A decision that edges towards normality returning to the game and with the return of the Champions League and Europa League soon on the horizon, it means not all matches will be played behind closed doors.

Unfortunately, this ruling from UEFA cannot supersede national government protocol and where countries are currently not allowing matchday support, the same rules must be applied for continental or international action.

Which means bad news for those within the United Kingdom, as with the Premier League and Scottish Premiership not able to open their doors to fans, it means the likes of Liverpool or the Glasgow duo of Celtic and Rangers, will not be able to take advantage of the 30% rule for now.

For those clubs that will be playing in Europe, it means they may be at a slight disadvantage when going up against continental opposition, as there is a chance that away fixtures may mean playing in front of some form of rival attendance.

Because not only will those British clubs and nations be barred from allowing supporters in, the prospect of the infamous Euro awayday has also been quelled, as any upcoming fixtures will only permit home attendance.

Wherever that leads to competitive advantage remains to be seen and even if it does, this will just have to be the lie of the land for the foreseeable future. With that said, those Premier League representatives will have to hope for a change in regulation by the turn of the year.

If that is to be the case, then there is every chance that any of the four Premier League sides who make the Round of 16 in the Champions League and the same could be said for the three sides that are in the Europa League, will be roared on by some supporters in the knockout phases.

At the time of writing, 27 of UEFA’s 55 member nations are permitted to allow supporters and with the announcement of this new direction, president Alexsander Ceferin had this to say:

“While we all face a common enemy in Covid, different countries have different approaches and different challenges at any given moment. This decision allows much more local flexibility to deal with admitting fans than was previously the case, always respecting the assessment of local authorities.”

A statement that recognises that a one-size-fits-all approach would not work within the current climate and therefore any process regarding the eventual return of supporters, is one that is going to have to be somewhat gradual.

 

Written by Dan Tracey

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