Boost for match-going fans as UEFA lifts away fan ban
Away fan ban
Fans from English clubs were, until yesterday, unable to travel to away European matches as per UEFA legislation. For clubs like West Ham, in the Europa League group stages for the first time in their history, this would have been devastating to the match-going fans, while those watching on TV would have had to make do with a very one-sided crowd.
BT Sport host Gary Lineker even left his role in order to follow his beloved Leicester City around Europe, rightly asking “how many opportunities will we have?”.
Some personal news: pic.twitter.com/UOy8Z4pMye
— Gary Lineker 💙 (@GaryLineker) May 28, 2021
However, due to Coronavirus restrictions, UEFA had banned away fans in stadiums in an attempt to reduce transmissions of the new delta variant of Covid-19.
UEFA finally lift ban
With a week to go before the European competitions get underway, however, UEFA have reversed their decision, subject to local covid-19 regulations. In a statement, they revealed:
The UEFA Executive Committee has approved significant amendments to the fifth edition of the UEFA Return to Play Protocol, which sets out the framework of sanitary and hygiene-related procedures as well as operational protocols to be applied when staging UEFA competition matches.
With respect to the medical principles, the amendments are a result of the ongoing vaccination campaigns across Europe and the decision of many countries to allow vaccinated and recovered individuals to freely move across borders and attend public events without further testing.
With regard to the operational principles, the changes approved have been proposed following the experiences gathered across more than 2,000 UEFA competition matches now successfully played.
This, of course, will come as a massive boost to many, but regulations remain strict around Europe, with Chelsea fans unable to travel to Sweden, or Spurs fans to Netherlands, where two of their away matches occur.
Along with this minefield, there is the issue of PCR tests, which need to be taken before and after travel, which may price many fans out of travelling.
For the lucky few, however, away days can continue as normal.