Hungary closed to most, open to fans for soccer’s Super Cup


GENEVA (AP)For the first UEFA-organized game in six months with fans inside the stadium, the European soccer body detailed on Monday its demands for the Super Cup in Budapest despite Hungary closing its borders to most non-residents during the pandemic.

Medical examinations plus proof of a negative test for COVID-19 in the previous three days for fans entering Hungary, and mandatory mask wearing at the stadium are the new reality.

Champions League winner Bayern Munich will play Europa League winner Sevilla on Sept. 24, and UEFA hopes around 20,000 fans will be at the 67,000-capacity Puskas Arena in Hungary’s capital.

No Bayern and Sevilla fans could attend their title-winning games last month in, respectively, Portugal and Germany.

The Super Cup is ”a pilot to bring fans back to stadiums in the current COVID-19 pandemic situation,” UEFA said in a statement

For the Super Cup, fans must stay away if they have any COVID-19 symptoms or were in contact with an infected person in the previous 14 days.

At Puskas Arena, fans must undergo body temperature checks on arriving, maintain a 1.5-meter distance from others in all areas, and remain in their allocated seat 1.5 meters apart.

Each club will be allocated 3,000 tickets and fans entering Hungary ”may undergo an obligatory medical examination during their entry,” UEFA said.

They must also show their match ticket and proof of a recent test result in ”a Hungarian or English language document, containing the results of the molecular biological test.”

Ticket-holders must also leave Hungary within 72 hours of arriving, UEFA said.

Hungary is making an exception for international soccer games despite closing its borders to non-residents except in what it called ”justified cases.”

The border policy brought in by Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government has been questioned by the European Unionof which it is a member.

Orban is a renowned lover of soccer, and oversaw rebuilding Puskas Arena which will host games at UEFA’s rescheduled 2020 European Championship next year.

The Hungarian soccer federation — led by Sandor Csanyi, a billionaire banker, who is a vice president of UEFA and FIFA — was awarded hosting rights in June to the Super Cup. It previously was to be played in Portugal, which was awarded hosting rights to the rescheduled Champions League mini-tournament.

The UEFA executive committee, including Csanyi, is scheduled to have a rare in-person meeting in Budapest ahead of the game.

UEFA is also using Hungary as an option as a neutral venue for games this month in qualifying for the Champions League and Europa League which cannot be played in the home team’s country.

Hungary, a nation of 9.7 million people, has reported 625 deaths up to Monday because of COVID-19, according to tallies kept by Johns Hopkins University.

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