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EUROPEAN FOOTBALL: Is now the right time to allow away fans back?


Away fans have made their long awaited return to European club football during the opening round of group matches in UEFA's three competitions.

UEFA made the decision to permit the allocation of away tickets at the start of the month, following pressure from those who argued that fans were able to attend games during the European Championships.

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.

The qualifying rounds of each competition fell under a blanket ban of no away fans, as did September's World Cup Qualifiers.

A UEFA statement released following the news that away fans would be allowed read: "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.

"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."

Manchester United were the first English team to take an away following abroad after the changes, when they were beaten 2-1 by Young Boys in Switzerland.

The changes are subject to government ruling and this can mean that finding a way to travel to games is difficult.

Here are the thoughts of the Box-to-Box podcast.

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