Italy approves opening stadium to fans at 25% capacity for Euros


FILE PHOTO: Britain Football Soccer - UEFA EURO 2020 Launch Event - London City Hall - 21/9/16 The UEFA EURO 2020 logo on display with the European Championship trophy during the launch Action Images via Reuters / Tony O'Brien Livepic

ROME (Reuters) - Italy's government will allow fans to attend matches at this year's European Championship in Rome's Olympic Stadium with at least 25% capacity, the country's soccer federation (FIGC) said in a statement on Tuesday.

Euro 2020 was postponed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and European soccer's governing body UEFA had asked the 12 host nations to submit their plans for allowing fans inside stadiums by early April. The finals run from June 11-July 11.

Last week the Italian government's Technical Scientific Committee (CTS) said it was unable to give its opinion before the deadline and UEFA had given until April 19 for a decision.

"Italy and Rome are on board. The government approval of the public's presence at Rome's Euro 2020 matches is wonderful news that we will immediately pass on to UEFA," FIGC President Gabriele Gravina said in a statement.

"The message that the government sends to the country is one of great confidence and extraordinary vision.

"Italy is showing courage that it is fighting against the pandemic and at the same time working to restart safely according to a clear and defined programme and schedule."

Italy has registered 115,088 deaths linked to COVID-19 since its outbreak emerged in February last year, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain. The country has reported 3.79 million cases to date.

Rome is due to host three group games -- including the tournament's opening match between Italy and Turkey on June 11 -- and one quarter-final.

Among the other 11 host cities, Budapest is looking to fill its 68,000-seater Puskas Arena at 100% capacity while St Petersburg and Baku have plans for 50%.

London, Amsterdam, Bucharest, Copenhagen and Glasgow agreed to fill their stadiums at capacities ranging from 25% to 33%.

London confirmed a minimum capacity of 25% for the three group matches and a last-16 game but the UK government's 'roadmap' could allow for a much higher capacity for the semi-finals and final.

Dublin and Bilbao were unable to commit to at least some fans being able to attend games.

Munich's mayor said on Monday he could not rule out blocking fans from attending games in June due to the infection rate and protection orders in the Bavarian capital.

A final decision on whether those three cities remain hosts will be made at UEFA's executive committee meeting on April 19.

(Reporting by Elvira Pollina, Angelo Amante and Rohith Nair; Editing by Crispian Balmer and Ken Ferris)

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