In a first across Europe, the Hungarian Football Federation (MLSZ) have allowed fans to return under strict guidelines to preserve social distancing around the grounds.
The Hungarian league season came back on May 23rd, but the announcement of fans returning came shortly afterwards on May 28th.
Supporters got their first taste of live action on the weekend with regulations set to remain in place as long as it’s safe to do so and approved by government.
In a statement by the MLSZ, they outlined how fans must adhere to guidelines due to the coronavirus pandemic:
“Every fourth chair can sit facing spectators at football matches after May 28th,” they said.
“In order to protect the health of the players, the strict regulations and mandatory tests applicable to them remain in force.
“The clubs organising the match must ensure that the distance is maintained in the stands in order for the conditions for epidemiological control to be in place.”
Rendkívüli stadionkép egy rendkívüli helyzetben – így indultak újra nézők részvételével az OTP Bank Liga küzdelmei Kaposváron. pic.twitter.com/rOk1vnyohx
— MLSZ (@MLSZhivatalos) May 29, 2020
Although crowds would be significantly reduced, those fans lucky enough to get a spot in the stands will need to make sure they remain consistent with social distancing to ensure clubs can continue getting extra bit of support on match day.
“Adequate distance must be maintained in all community areas (before, during, and after the match, including checkouts, entry points, buffets, and restrooms),” the MLSZ said.
“On Thursday, the MLSZ issued a recommendation to the clubs in order to make the admission of spectators as inconvenient as possible for the fans by complying with the health protection regulations, but each club is free to decide on the conditions of the event.”
The Hungarian Football Federation has now led the way for figuring out a way to space out fans around the ground.
It’ll be interesting to see if other clubs come up with a system that enables members and season ticket holders an equal chance to attend remaining matches during the season – addressing the lack of match day income over the last few months.