Up to one thousand fans will be allowed into Serie A games in northern Italy for the opening weekend of the new season.
The Italian top flight was played behind closed doors for the remainder of last season, as they completed the final rounds of fixtures. With the 2020/21 campaign starting on Saturday, the first phase of returning fans to stadiums is set to begin.
According to Sky Sport in Italy, one thousand fans will be able to attend Serie A games in the northern region of Emilia-Romagna. Fans will be allowed in to watch Napoli’s trip to Parma and Sassuolo’s game against Cagliari, both of which are being played on Sunday.
They add that there will inevitably be a number of COVID-19 regulations in force, including social distancing, the compulsory wearing of face masks and hand sanitising points around the stadiums.
Napoli will be hoping to get off to a strong start when they face Parma, as they hope to secure a top-four finish and return to the Champions League. This will be Gennaro Gattuso’s first full season in charge of the Partenopei, having arrived in Naples last December.
Sassuolo will look to build on their strong season where they finished eighth, their best position for four years. On the other hand, Cagliari finished the campaign down in 14th, and they are still searching for their first top-half finish since 2009.
Serie A was completely suspended in March when Italy became the European epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic, with almost every league and competition following suit. The league resumed three months later, seeing Juventus clinch their 36th Scudetto.
All Serie A games have been played behind closed doors since March, when the Italian government ordered all sporting events to be played without fans. The final game to be played with fans in attendance was Roma’s thrilling 4-3 win over Cagliari, over six and a half months ago on 1 March.
Italy was one of the worst-hit countries in Europe, once recording the highest death toll in the world. Emilia-Romagna, where the first fixtures with fans will be held, has seen the second-most deaths in the country, only behind the initial epicentre of Lombardy.
The new Serie A campaign kicks off with Fiorentina hosting Torino on Saturday, albeit behind closed doors. Roma travel to Verona later that evening, before the remaining fixtures are played over Sunday and Monday.