World News – US – As virus grows, Hungary advance with Super Cup football game


Bayern Munich and Sevilla will fight for the European trophy in Budapest amid growing concerns over fan safety at a stadium ready to seat 20,000

BUDAPEST – A showdown between two big European clubs, Bayern Munich and Sevilla, in a top-level football match, is set to be played as planned in front of thousands of fans in Budapest on Thursday evening despite a sharp rise in coronavirus cases in Hungary

The match, for the UEFA Super Cup, will be played at the Puskas stadium, and organizers say a maximum of 20,000 people will be admitted, one third of the arena’s capacity, as part of the event. ‘a series of virus prevention measures

« We have worked very hard with the authorities here to try to align the circumstances so that people can safely attend, » said Philip Townsend, director of communications for UEFA, the governing body European football

Hungary is currently experiencing an increase in recorded coronavirus cases which is significantly higher than the figures seen when Covid-19 entered Hungary earlier this year

Budapest was designated a ‘risk zone’ by the German government last week due to an increase in the number of recorded coronavirus cases, and Markus Söder, the head of state of Bavaria, where Munich is located , warned on Monday of the dangers of the coronavirus spreading to the match

Concerns about the virus during the Super Cup, in which the winners of the two biggest club competitions at European level face each other, may be anchored in recent memory In February, a football match was considered a factor contributing to the acceleration of the virus in Italy

UEFA has made 6,000 tickets available to Sevilla and Bayern Munich fans, but on Wednesday it emerged that neither club could muster enough participants to take advantage of their ticket allocations

Only 500 Sevilla fans were due to travel to Budapest and around 1,300 from Munich, according to UEFA, but that number could decline given concerns expressed by German officials

Of the remaining tickets, an estimated 90% were sold to Hungarian fans UEFA and the Hungarian Football Association announced this month that they will give employees of the Hungarian National Ambulance Service 500 tickets

Ferenc Falus, Hungary’s former chief medical officer, criticized the decision to continue with the game and raised concerns that fans would not follow social distancing guidelines during the game, or before and after it. here outside the stadium

Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s enthusiasm for football is well known and his government has aggressively directed public funds towards football at a time when Hungary’s healthcare system remains underfunded

With coronavirus test positivity rates exceeding 10%, Dr Falus said: “There is no guarantee that this will not result in more illness, hospitalization, or even death in the days and weeks after the match »

But concerns of medical experts like Dr Falus are played down by event planners who say coronavirus mitigation measures will keep fans safe

« I wouldn’t call it an experience, » says Jeno Sipos, spokesperson for the Hungarian Football Association. « This is a priority project in which the organizing committee determines how the match can be played with the strictest security measures in place « 

Citing a comprehensive risk assessment, Hungarian football officials point out that comprehensive measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of those attending the match UEFA awarded the game to Budapest in June

The temperature of the fans will be taken at the gates Social distancing rules are encouraged for those arriving and leaving the stadium Wearing a mask will be compulsory throughout the stadium, but is « strongly recommended » only for seated supporters in their place, with a mandatory meter and a half between non-paired supporters

Social distancing is also mandatory at concession stands, and even the men’s washrooms have been revamped to provide more distance between fans

« The organizers have placed an extraordinary amount of hand sanitizing equipment throughout the Puskas stadium, » M Jeno said

However, some fans complain about the lack of consistent guidelines for those attempting to enter Hungary from abroad

Ronan Evain, executive director of Football Supporters Europe, an association of football fans that claims to have members in 48 European countries, said the Hungarian embassy in Paris was unable to answer questions concerning the conditions of entry into the country a few days before the match

« It was more difficult to leave my home country than to enter Hungary, » he said, citing what he described as confusion over entry requirements and misunderstandings at the airport in France, where the authorities did not seem to be aware of the special arrangements made for travelers to the match

Upon entering Hungary, he said, he was asked to provide the results of his coronavirus test, which authorities did not seem to notice had been published in French, and he was not told didn’t ask where he would stay and when he would leave

Monsieur Evain’s quest to attend the Super Cup involved « a lot of improvisation and uncertainty », and he was frustrated that adequate information on health and safety protocols had not been communicated to the fans « Everything you post should be crystal clear, and that certainly wasn’t the case with this game. »

FC Bayern Munich, UEFA Player of the Year Award, Sevilla FC, 2020 UEFA Super Cup, Kevin De Bruyne, Robert Lewandowski

News from the world – United States – Even as virus rises, Hungary goes ahead with Super Cup football game


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