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Italy guarantees fans to be allowed into Euro 2020 matches

April 13, 2021 GMT
Roma's Gonzalo Villar, left, and Bologna's Valentin Anton challenge for the ball during the Italian Serie A soccer match between Roma and Bologna at Rome's Olympic stadium, Italy, Sunday, April 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Roma's Gonzalo Villar, left, and Bologna's Valentin Anton challenge for the ball during the Italian Serie A soccer match between Roma and Bologna at Rome's Olympic stadium, Italy, Sunday, April 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

ROME (AP) — The Italian government on Tuesday gave the all-clear for a limited number of fans to attend European Championship games at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, allowing the city to remain part of the rescheduled tournament.

The pandemic-delayed tournament is being staged in 12 cities in as many countries, and last Friday UEFA gave Rome, Munich, Bilbao and Dublin an extension until April 19 to remain host cities by providing guarantees on fans being allowed into games.

The Italian government officially informed the country’s soccer federation on Tuesday that at least 25% of the 70,000-capacity Olimpico can be filled when Euro 2020 kicks off in Rome on June 11.

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“Italy and Rome are there! The ok from the government to fans attending the Euro 2020 matches in Rome is splendid news which I will immediately send to UEFA,” FIGC president Gabriele Gravina said in a statement.

“The message the government is sending to the country is one of great confidence and extraordinary vision,” Gravina continued. “Italy is showing it has courage, the same Italy which is fighting against the pandemic and at the same time working to restart securely.”

Fans have been banned from matches in Italy for the majority of the past year, apart from a brief period shortly after the start of the season when up to 1,000 spectators were allowed into stadiums.

Italy will play Turkey in Rome in the first match of the competition, which was postponed by one year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Italy will also play its other two matches at the Olimpico, which will also host a quarterfinal.

UEFA received confirmation last week from eight other cities across Europe that crowds will be allowed at stadiums as coronavirus restrictions are eased.

Only Baku and St. Petersburg have so far said at least 50% of their stadiums can be filled.

Wembley, which has a tournament-high seven fixtures, will have at least a quarter of the 90,000-seat stadium filled in the group stage and last 16. The intention is for the capacity to rise to at least 45,000 for the semifinals and July 11 final.

Amsterdam, Bucharest, Copenhagen and Glasgow said capacities can be at 25% to 33% — numbers that could rise based on the progress of vaccination programs and infections dropping.

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