Update: 7:00AM EST
Local officials in Barcelona have killed any thoughts of Bayern Munich fans traveling to next week’s Champions League showdown, but other destinations in the group stage could potentially be open to travel — depending on local authorities:
Bayern will not receive any tickets for Tuesday's game against Barcelona as the local authorities in Barcelona currently do not allow away fans in the stadium [fcb]— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) September 8, 2021
This was confirmed by the organization yesterday evening, in a statement that said they would not be extending the ban on away fans at its matches. “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,” part of the statement read.
Specifically, at least 5% of the venues will be available to seat away fans as long as local governance allows it, the statement continued; “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 percent 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.”
Additionally, UEFA has also made the decision to loosen restrictions regarding distance regulations at outdoor working venues, which means that press and media will have a larger allocation of seating available. This is, however, in accordance with local coronavirus protective protocols, so it might vary from city to city across Europe.
For Bayern Munich, their first group stage match in the Champions League is at Barcelona at the Camp Nou next Tuesday. For Bayern fans, this will be the first time that away fans are allowed at a match since they won the UEFA Supercup last fall at the Puskas Arena in Budapest, Hungary, where restrictions were much lighter than Munich at the time. It was technically a neutral venue between Bayern and Sevilla, but because of the Bavarian protocol regulations that were in place at the time, a large portion of Bayern fans wound up returning their tickets for the match because they didn’t want to have to quarantine for 14 days upon re-entry into Bavaria.
From a player’s perspective, UEFA has also said that they will no longer require fully vaccinated or players who have recovered from coronavirus to be tested in order to play in UEFA matches. However, they might still need to undergo testing to enter other countries for matches if local authorities require it. As we’ve seen, this can still be a bit of a potential roadblock as governments within the European Union and United Kingdom have made different decisions on local levels regarding coronavirus and associated quarantine protocols.