Dutch FA: 5,000 fans to be allowed at World Cup qualifier


AMSTERDAM — Up to 5,000 fans will be allowed to attend the Netherlands’ World Cup qualifier against Lithuania this month in a test to evaluate how to safely reopen large-scale events to the public in the coronavirus pandemic.

The March 27 match at Amsterdam’s Johan Cruyff Arena will be used to study the effectiveness of different crowd measures and of rapid testing and a smartphone app that displays a negative test result, the Dutch Football Association (KNVB) said on Tuesday.

“Favorable results of this research for football could accelerate the process toward well-attended stadiums in the final stages of the 2020-21 season in professional football and at Euro 2020,” the KNVB said.

Fans will be divided into “research bubbles” at the stadium on the southeastern edge of Amsterdam so researchers can study the effects of different factors such as seating arrangements. One of the bubbles also will be used to examine the spread of aerosols that are expelled by people when they breathe, cough, sneeze or shout.

The Netherlands, which won its only major international title at Euro 1988, is hosting four Euro 2020 matches this summer following its postponement last year due to the pandemic.

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