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Hungarian football fans become first to return to stadia

Nemzeti Bajnokság, the top tier of Hungarian football, became the first European league to allow fans to return to its stadia this weekend.

The Hungarian national football federation (MLSZ) required fans to be spread out so that no more than one seat in four was occupied and every second row was entirely empty. Clubs had been warned by the federation that social distancing had to be maintained “to guarantee the conditions for epidemiological control.”

Six games took place between Friday and Sunday with around 5,500 fans in total attending.

The match at Diosgyor attracted the largest crowd of 2,255, with social distancing measures meaning the club’s 15,000-capacity stadium had to be less than 20 per cent full for the match against Mezokovesd on Saturday.

Tickets for the DVTK game needed to be purchased online after going on sale on Friday, one day before the game was scheduled to kick off. The prices were unchanged and fans were warned that “not everyone can support from their usual place”.

DVTK informed fans that stands and restrooms were disinfected and listed several other measures to follow whilst in the stadium, including asking non-ticket holders to stay away from the stadium as there would be no fan zone.

For the Sunday match between Budapest Honved, who won 3-1, and Debrecen, the official attendance was 700, although reports have suggested it looked closer to 400. The game was only admitting Honved season-ticket holders and traveling Debrecen fans to the 5,322-capacity Hidegkuti Nándor Stadion, which usually welcomes between 1,500 and 3,000 spectators to league games.

The first match with fans took place on Friday as bottom-of-the-table Kaposvar lost 6-0 to ZTE in front of 500 fans at the 7,000-capacity Rákóczi Stadion.


League leaders Ferencvaros drew 1-1 with Puskás on Sunday in front of a crowd of 600 people at the 3,816-capacity Puskás Akadémia Pancho Aréna. Feremcvaros is used to drawing home crowds of around 10,000 fans.

The country’s first division campaign resumed on May 23 behind closed doors, before allowing fans back in this weekend. The 2019-20 Nemzeti Bajnokság campaign was initially suspended due to COVID-19 on March 16.

Image: Szandrasiklosi 

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