The Hungary national team will welcome Iceland in the Euro 2020 play-off final match in an empty stadium this week. The Hungarian soccer federation confirms that fans will no longer be allowed to attend the national team’s crucial European Championship qualifying match. Last week, 18,531 fans watched Ferencvaros host Juventus in a Champions League game at the national stadium.
However, with the spike of coronavirus infection in Europe, the Hungarian government has announced new restrictions to cope with the worsening coronavirus pandemic. The Hungarian soccer federation says the new restrictions “have a significant impact” on soccer and it will pay refunds for 18,000 fans who bought the ticket and could have been in the 67,000-capacity Puskas Arena for the crucial match.
Budapest is among 12 host cities scattered across the continent for Euro 2020. Puskas Arena is Budapest’s newest stadium named after its most famous team captain Ferenc Puskás, and is home to the Hungarian national team. The revamped stadium finished its construction in 2019 and can now hold 67,215 spectators. Hungary will have two home games in Group F if it qualifies.
Matches to be staged in this arena are: Play-off winner A (D) v Portugal; Play-off winner A (D) v France; Portugal v France; Round of 16: 1C v 3D/E/F. Aside from hosting matches for the Euro 2020, the Puskas Arena has been selected to host the 2022 Europa League final. Last month, goals from Willi Orban, ZsoltKalmar and Nemanja Nikolic gave the Hungarians a 3-1 win in Bulgaria.
Last month, UEFA confirmed that fans were to be allowed at European club and national team competition matches, at up to 30% of stadium capacity, where local authorities allow. Elsewhere, the Irish FA has announced that Northern Ireland will allow 1,060 fans in to Windsor Park for next week’s Euro 2020 qualifying play-off final against Slovakia.
Four nations are yet to qualify for Euro 2020 and will be named after the play-offs final conclude on Nov. 12. The winner will join the first 20 teams who booked their place in the tournament during the group stage last year. Euro 2020, originally scheduled for June 12-July 12, was pushed back 12 months because of the Covid-19 pandemic and is now due to be held from June 11-July 11 next year.