Officials relaxed the rules for Wednesday’s final, which Lokomotiv won 5-3 on penalties, increasing the number of supporters admitted to the stadium from 4,000 to 12,000.
Football given green light to resume in Bulgaria on 5 June and, despite supporters’ recognition of “non-compliance with anti-epidemic measures”, authorities have agreed to increase the number of spectators at the Vasil Levski national stadium from Sofia, where there were supporters. said to observe a social distance of 1.5 meters.
According to Reuters, the government also advised spectators to wear face masks, that everyone entering the stadium was offered free of charge. But many fans have chosen not to wear face covers
CNN contacted the Bulgarian FA, CSKA Sofia and Lokomotiv Plovdiv for comments, but did not immediately receive a response.
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On Thursday, 5,154 confirmed cases of Covid-19 were registered in Bulgaria, of which almost half are active. The government has announced that 165 new cases have been registered in the past 24 hours.
The match ended 0-0 after extra time, but a 100% conversion rate from the penalty spot allowed Lokomotiv to retain the Cup and secure a place in the Europa League qualifying rounds. .
CSKA head coach Milos Kruscic retired after the match.
It has also been reported that a “White Lives Matter” poster was displayed by fans during the match, a message that was widely condemned in the English Premier League after Burnley fans arranged for a similar banner be deployed before their team’s match against Manchester City. .
The final on Wednesday raises other questions about the organization of football matches with supporters present.
Bulgarian Sports Minister Krasen Kralev has reportedly said that violations during Wednesday’s game could lead to the implementation of “more drastic measures”.
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The Balkan countries, which experienced less severe coronavirus outbreaks compared to other European countries, opened sport events relatively quickly.
In June, 20,000 fans attended the Belgrade derby, while a few days later, Novak Djokovic’s Adria Tour tennis tournament started in the Serbian capital with fans present.
The Adria Tour was widely criticized after a number of top players, including Djokovic, tested positive for the coronavirus after playing at the competition’s second event in Zadar, Croatia.
Meetings in the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain were all held behind closed doors, while other European countries allowed some fans to return.
In Denmark, for example, a limited number of spectators were allowed to enter the stadiums while observing social distancing.
Last week, the Danish Football Union announced that there had been “great satisfaction” with the way the matches were played and that there were hopes of returning to near normal capacity for next season.
While virtually all elite sports were postponed in Europe at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the Belarusian Premier League continued to play.
This resulted in a spike in popularity, with the country’s football federation having signed new broadcast agreements in 10 countries.