Full capacity crowds return to sports venues on Friday


Sporting venues will be allowed to operate at 100% capacity from Friday under the Government’s revised reopening plan, which was published this afternoon.

After over 18 months of sport taking place behind closed doors and with restricted numbers, the green light has been given in what is a major boost to the industry.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said four large scale capacity events will take place in the coming weeks with 100% attendance.

In rugby, the first large scale stadium fixture to have no restriction will be between Connacht and Ulster at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday in the United Rugby Championship.

Ireland play November internationals on the first three Saturdays of November, including the star-studded New Zealand outfit, as well as opening with Japan and concluding with Argentina.

The Republic of Ireland host Portugal on 11 November. Earlier this month over 25,000 attended the friendly fixture with Qatar under the 50% capacity limit.

With support growing under manager Stephen Kenny, it is likely the fixture will sell out at 50,000, especially with the draw of star name Cristiano Ronaldo.

On a smaller scale, this Friday’s FAI Cup semi-finals will see their capacities double. St Patrick’s Athletic host Dundalk in Richmond Park and Bohemians welcome Waterford to Dalymount Park.

The former can now host 5,000, with Bohs expected to sell out their game at over 3,500. Both games will have sizeable away support. Many League of Ireland clubs were not permitting away supporters under current restrictions.

The final takes place on 28 November at the Aviva Stadium and could have the largest attendance since the first Aviva Stadium final in 2010 when 36,000 were present.

In GAA club championship games and finals will continue to take place but many are already scheduled for venues where large scale capacity is not needed.


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