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 as they finished the final rounds of fixtures for the remainder of last season. With the 2020/21 campaign starting on Saturday the first phase of returning fans to stadiums is set to commence.
According to Sky Sport in Italy, in the northern region of Emilia-Romagna, one thousand fans will be able to attend Serie A games. Fans will be allowed to watch the trip of Napoli to Parma and the game of Sassuolo against Cagliari, both played on Sunday.
They add that a number of COVID-19 regulations will inevitably come into force, including social distancing, the obligatory wearing of face masks, and hand sanitation points around the stadiums.
As they hope to secure a top-four finish and return to the Champions League, Napoli will hope to get off to a strong start when they face Parma. Having arrived last December in Naples, this will be the first full season for Gennaro Gattuso, in charge of the Partenopei.
Sassuolo will look to build on their strong season in which they have finished eighth, their best four-year position. Cagliari, on the other hand, finished the campaign in 14th place, and they are still looking for their first top-half finish since 2009.
Serie A was completely suspended in March, when Italy became the European epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, with almost every league and competition the following suit. Three months later, the league resumed, seeing Juventus clinch their 36th Scudetto.
Since March, when the Italian government ordered all sporting events to be played without fans, all Serie A games were played behind closed doors. 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.
Having once recorded the world’s highest death toll, Italy was one of Europe’s worst-hit countries. Emilia-Romagna, where the first fan fixtures will take place, saw the country’s second-most deaths, only behind Lombardy’s initial epicenter.
Albeit behind closed doors, the new Serie A campaign kicks off with Fiorentina hosting Torino on Saturday. Later that evening, before the remaining fixtures are played on Sunday and Monday, Roma will travel to Verona.