Football: Italy to allow up to 1,000 fans to attend Serie A games

Spectators adhering to social distancing measures during the Italian Serie A match between Hellas Verona and AS Roma in Verona on Sept 19, 2020. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

ROME (Reuters) - Italy will allow up to 1,000 supporters to attend top-flight Serie A soccer matches from Sunday (Sept 20) following an agreement between the regions and various government departments, Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora has said.

The regions of Emilia Romagna - home to Parma, Sassuolo and Bologna - and Veneto - where Verona are based - had already announced that fans could watch matches in their jurisdiction but Spadafora said the measure had been extended to nationwide.

Spectators have been barred from Serie A matches since March due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

"To avoid disparities between the teams and as an experiment in view of the further openings, I asked that this decision be extended to the entire national territory," Mr Spadafora said on his Facebook page. "I thank (Health Minister Roberto) Speranza and the regions for sharing this view."

Mr Spadafora added he would now work towards allowing spectators at matches in the lower tiers.

"My goal is to allow the participation of the public for all sports and for all categories, arriving at a single protocol that provides for a percentage of spectators based on the actual capacity of the facilities," he said. "We made a commitment during the meeting to get down to work on this right away."

Serie A kicked off on Saturday with two matches, Fiorentina-Torino and Verona-AS Roma.

Verona did not have time to sell tickets for their game following the Veneto region's decision but allowed a small number of friends and relatives to watch their game. Fiorentina's match was played behind closed doors.

Earlier on Saturday, 1,000 fans were allowed to watch a pre-season friendly at the San Siro stadium between Inter Milan and Serie B side Pisa.

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