Hungarian League allows football fans to enter stadiums

Hungarian League allows football fans to enter stadiums

The country became the first in Europe to admit viewers back into the stands, but with the crowd size drastically reduced and the social distancing measures implemented.

According to regulations imposed by the Hungarian National Football Federation (MLSZ), fans had to be distributed so that it did not occupy more than one seat in four and each second row was completely empty.

“The clubs hosting the matches must ensure that social distance is maintained in the stands to ensure conditions for epidemiological control,” the MLSZ said in a statement.

The first match with the fans took place on Friday, organized by the bottom Kaposvar against other ZTE fighters, with a post on the MLSZ social media that illustrates the new measures implemented in a stadium that generally has capacity for 7,000 spectators.

Local fans in attendance may have wished they hadn’t bothered, with Kaposvar falling into a 6-0 loss to remain firmly entrenched at the bottom of the standings.

In action on Saturday, Mezokovesd, third-placed, visited DVTK, falling to a 1-0 loss, in a sparsely attended match, although groups of fans seemed to come together to create more atmosphere and cheer on their team.

Mezokovesd's supporters seemed to ignore the rules of social distancing while cheering on their team during their 1-0 loss.
DVTK supporters had a bit more to cheer for in the sparsely assisted match, as a 1-0 home win lifted their team to fourth place.

On Sunday, with the visit of league leader Ferencvaros to Puskas FC, the Felcsut club, which is the hometown of Hungarian football supporter Viktor Orban, will be given a bigger test of whether the fans they will adhere to the new restrictions.

Thirty times Hungarian champions Ferencvaros regularly draws large crowds to their matches in a league where the average is only 3,000 per game.

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Soccer fans

Meanwhile, fans in the Czech Republic, where the league has resumed behind closed doors, have been given a new way to get together to show support for their team and watch live matches.

When Sparta Prague entertained Viktoria Plzen in second place on Wednesday, fans were able to watch the game on big screens from inside their cars in movie theaters in Plzen and Prague.

Fans cheer as they watch the Czech First Division soccer match between FC Viktoria Plzen and AC Sparta Praha at a drive-in cinema in Plzen, Czech Republic.

The experiment turned out to be a success, but vocal supporters left their cars at key moments and Plzen fans ended up happier when their team secured a 2-1 victory.

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Cory Weinberg

About the Author: Cory Weinberg

Cory Weinberg covers the intersection of tech and cities. That means digging into how startups and big tech companies are trying to reshape real estate, transportation, urban planning, and travel. Previously, he reported on Bay Area housing and commercial real estate for the San Francisco Business Times. He received a "best young journalist" award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

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