UEFA allocated 3,000 tickets each to Sevilla and Bayern Munich for the European Super Cup. The Spanish side have not shifted even 500. Bayern, for whose supporters the Puskás Aréna in Budapest is a short hop, have sold about half their share. This speaks volumes about the prudence with which football fans are treating the gradual return of stadium attendance, in the knowledge that the coronavirus is still out there. Those that have chosen to travel have been required to undergo PCR tests in the 72 hours before the game. Even so, the mayor of Budapest has made his displeasure about UEFA opening up this crack in the Covid defences abundantly clear. The stadium is a large one, with capacity for 67,000 spectators, so the crowd will be thin. Still, many of the visiting fans will walk through the centre of the city to get there.
Germany, France and Italy are also gradually opening stadiums back up to supporters. There are those who are asking when Spain will follow suit. There is impatience and on Wednesday, based on a regional law issued by the government of Cantabria, Racing Santander’s El Sardinero was reopened to 1,000 fans for a friendly game (although only 765 attended). During the summer cinemas, theatres, bullrings and racing tracks have reopened, and not always with due care and attention as we saw at Madrid’s Teatro Real. How can opening some public spaces but not football stadiums be justified? The argument is that football fans tend to gather before and after games in bars around the stadiums. In any case, given the way Covid-19 is flaring up again, the best thing for everyone is only to go out when it is necessary.
Sevilla and Lopetegui have nothing to lose in Budapest
But we were talking about tonight’s game in Budapest, where Sevilla are going to face the toughest of tests. Bayern Munich are verging on unstoppable and sow terror into their opponents with the habit they have acquired of scoring goals by the bucketload. Yesterday Spanish television broadcast Sevilla’s training session. The Liga side’s manager, Julen Lopetegui, could be seen observing proceedings with a look of seriousness on his face and understandably so, because the problem he faces is an enormous one. But Sevilla are a side who are able to bring intensity to a game, in attack as well as defence, and lest we kid ourselves they really have nothing to lose. To see them in the European Super Cup final is a satisfaction for all of us.