Italy was the first European country to be hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and now its capital, Rome, will host the opening match of the first major long-term international soccer event to be held with fans in the stands following the Covid emergency.
Several countries had requested to host matches long before the pandemic began, but since the tournament was postponed, UEFA only confirmed those cities whose plans ensured that fans could watch the matches in the stadium, in compliance with restrictions.
In fact, the Italian Government has allowed a 25% capacity in the Olympic Stadium, with a capacity of almost 68,000 seats.
Spectators will need to present proof of vaccination, a Covid-19 recovery certificate or recent negative test results to enter the stadium. 48 thermal scanners have been installed at the main entry points.
“Around a billion people will potentially watch the match. It is quite symbolic that the Euro starts in Rome, but above all, the event is going to be quite emotional, it will mark the restart of sports. It will also be a unique opportunity to celebrate Italy.” , explains satisfied Vito Cozzoli, president of “Sport e Salute”.
Volunteers and technology for a safe Euro
About 1,000 volunteers have signed up for the occasion. They will have the crucial role of ensuring that anti-covid restrictions are respected. Elisa Ciannarella is one of the volunteers: “It feels like a great reboot. Seeing all these people working together to achieve something so great has given us a lot of energy. You have to be here and experience it to understand it.”
The organizers hope this will be a test for future large-scale events. This is how Cozzoli sees it: “All the technological and infrastructural equipment that we have used, including Artificial Intelligence tools, from thermal scanners to the latest generation control room are part of a pilot test that can be replicated in all stadiums nationwide” .
Several events have been planned throughout the capital, which is gearing up for Friday’s opening match between Italy and Turkey. In the Piazza del Popolo, within which has been described as the fanzone largest in Europe, two giant screens will allow football fans to watch the matches.
After a year of waiting and despite the restrictions due to Covid-19, the excitement is in the air and everyone longs to see Rome vibrating again