UEFA tests spectator inclusive matches for the first time since lockdown

Updated: Oct 3, 2020

Abel Kurian Punnoose

26th September 2020

The Hungarian and European football governing body UEFA has decided to hold the UEFA Supercup finals as a monitored spectator inclusive match, much to the excitement of football fans of the UEFA League. Sportstar reported that Bayern Munich FC (The Champions League winners) and Sevilla FC (Europa League champions) will meet on Friday to determine the winner of the Supercup at Puskas Arena.

Fans of the sport are eager to get back into the stands (Source: www.en24news.com)

The match arrives amidst a growing second wave of the novel coronavirus, with Hungarian cases at a record rise, which prompted warnings of the possible consequences associated with mass gatherings from leaders from other countries, health authorities, opposition leaders, and the general public.

But even as both clubs will take decisions to send much lesser fans to the game than the 3,000 each allotted to them, UEFA has proceeded with the plans, and Hungary concurs, saying strict rules would prevent infections and other possible consequences, mentioned a report published by Al Jazeera. UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin termed it as a “pilot project” and said the organisation would decide about the future of international football games after the match.

"In principle, it will be us and the [Hungarian] government of course [to evaluate the health effect of the game], and in principle, we trust the governments around Europe," Ceferin told a news conference after a meeting of football leaders in Budapest. Most people were far less enthusiastic about the plan, including the paramedics.

Zsuzsanna Pongracz, a 41-year-old ambulance worker currently on maternity leave, questioned whether it was a good idea to send frontline health workers into such a crowd where the risks were high. “If they get infected, who will drive the ambulance vehicles? Instead of gestures or tickets, the country's government should work out rewarding careers for ambulance workers,” she said, referring to the chronically overworked and underpaid colleagues.

Viktor Orban, the President of Hungary, will be facing his hardest challenge, as the COVID situation in Hungary deepens every day. The Hindu reported, he has stated that his healthcare sector was ready to face any incident as it was well equipped with about 16,000 ventilators and tens of thousands of hospital beds. But medical authorities have also complained, citing a lack of technically qualified nursing staffers to operate the medical infrastructure.

He also visited a Budapest hospital and asked the on-duty doctor whether there were enough ventilators, which was posted on his Facebook page. Epidemiologist Andras Csilek, who is an advisor for the Hungarian Medical Chamber, said the match carried unnecessary risks and added that the invitation to the paramedics was ‘absurd’.

(Sources: Al Jazeera, Sportstar, The Hindu)

Edited by Satvik Pandey

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