Hungary welcomes 20,000 fans for UEFA Super Cup amid growing coronavirus fears


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In the age of coronavirus, the sight of 20,000 fans in the Puskas Arena will be an arresting one as Bayern Munich and Sevilla, last season’s Champions League and Europa League winners, meet in the Hungarian capital of Budapest at the Puskas Arena.
The game comes as Europe faces a second wave of Covid-19 infections, stoking fears it could cause a rise in cases.
“I really get a stomach ache when it comes to the Super Cup,” Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Soeder said this week.
Soeder warned against the game becoming a “football-Ischgl” — a reference to the Austrian ski resort that contributed towards the virus’ spread across Europe — and his concerns were echoed by Bayern executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
“I think everyone’s stomachs are churning,” Rummenigge told ZDF.
The Puskas Arena will host the Super Cup match between Bayern Munich and Sevilla.

Pilot event

UEFA is treating the event as a pilot to bringing fans back to stadiums. Those in attendance must abide by social distancing of one-and-a-half meters, wear face masks and undergo a body temperature check on entry.

On its website, Bayern emphasized that fans traveling back from Hungary to the state of Bavaria, where the club is based, will have to quarantine for 14 days.

The club is also offering fans returning from Budapest a free coronavirus test in the car park of its home stadium, the Allianz Arena.

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Sevilla and Bayern have each been allocated 3,000 tickets with the remainder likely to be taken by locals as Hungary hosts a final of a major European football competition for the first time.

Sevilla players train ahead of Thursday's game.

Hungary’s National Ambulance Service has announced that 500 emergency service workers have been invited to Thursday’s game, with those tickets selling out in 21 hours.

According to Reuters, Hungarian epidemiologist Andras Csilek labeled the decision to invite healthcare workers “absurd,” adding that “just about everyone in the health care sector will work on Covid cases soon … it is a feel-good story, but I don’t think it should be allowed.”
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When CNN contacted UEFA about safety concerns at the Super Cup, it pointed to previous announcements about the health and safety measures being enforced in the stadium.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Hungarian Football Association noted that the game will be less risky than indoor events and safer than crowding on a street.

“Thanks to strict precautions, the Puskas Arena will be a safer venue than any other point in the country or even the whole of Europe at the time of the match,” it said.

Bayern Munich players arrive in Budapest after an emphatic victory over Schalke.

The match comes in the same week that the UK government has postponed plans to allow fans back into sports grounds from October 1 amid a second wave of infections.

Sevilla is yet to get its La Liga campaign underway this season, although the team is in good form having last suffered defeat in February. Bayern, meanwhile, started its domestic season with an 8-0 thumping of Schalke.

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