UEFA has lifted a ban on away fans attending European club matches; supporters will now be able to attend games in the Champions League, Europa League and Conference League, subject to national government coronavirus restrictions
Monday 6 September 2021 19:12, UK
UEFA has confirmed that away fans can attend European club competition matches from next week.
Away supporters will be able to attend games in the Champions League, Europa League and Conference League, subject to national government coronavirus restrictions.
Away fans have not been able to attend almost all matches in European club football since the start of the pandemic, with only a small number of fans allowed at the Champions League and the Europa League finals in May.
A blanket ban on away fans has been in place for the qualifying rounds of UEFA's three European club competitions this season.
However, UEFA lifted the ban on Monday - potentially allowing away fans to attend matches as early as next week, when the group stage of the three competitions begin.
"Considering the different rules and regulations applicable across the UEFA member association territories, it was decided to no longer apply the MHHRRS, but to leave any decision with regards to spectators to the relevant competent authorities," read a UEFA statement.
"Therefore, the relevant section referring to the admission of spectators in the UEFA Return to Play Protocol has been adapted accordingly.
"Moreover, in line with the adaptations to the Protocol, the exchange of tickets for the fans of visiting teams is no longer forbidden.
"Therefore, standard practices will be reinstated, i.e. 5 per cent of the total allowed stadium capacity will be reserved to fans of the away team, subject to any decision in this respect falling under the responsibility of the relevant competent authorities."
The move is positive news for a number of British clubs who are preparing for away games next week.
Manchester United travel to face Young Boys in the Champions League on September 14 - while in the Europa League, Celtic face Real Betis away from home and West Ham travel to face Dinamo Zagreb on September 16.
Meanwhile, Tottenham travel to face Rennes in the Conference League - also on September 16.
UEFA also confirmed that it will no longer require players who have been fully vaccinated or recovered from coronavirus to be tested in order to play in its competitions.
However, players may still need to undergo testing to enter other countries for matches, depending on national government coronavirus restrictions.
"It was decided to exclude all individuals which are fully vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 and/or have recovered from COVID-19 from any further testing for purposes of entering Zone 1 at UEFA matches," added the UEFA statement.
"However, it is important to note that it remains within the sole responsibility of the team to verify ahead of travelling to any match venue in another country whether all vaccinated and/or recovered individuals of the team are permitted to enter the country and/or the stadium according to any requirements imposed by the competent national/local authorities.
"This includes checking if the type of vaccination of all individuals of a team delegation is accepted by authorities of the country which they are going to visit for the match.
"In case any additional entry requirements (e.g. testing upon arrival) are applicable, the team is responsible for complying with such rules, in order to be able to enter the relevant country and participate in the respective UEFA match."