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40,000 fans to attend All-Ireland finals and 25,000 for Ireland World Cup qualifiers

The Covid-19 crowd restrictions are set to be significantly relaxed.

Updated Jul 30th 2021, 7:15 PM

40,000 FANS WILL be allowed to attend next month’s All-Ireland senior finals while Ireland’s World Cup qualifiers in September are set to be played before a crowd of 25,000.

a-general-view-of-croke-park-ahead-of-the-game Croke Park. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

The good news for Irish sports fans was announced today after negotiations between Minister Jack Chambers and the relevant governing bodies.

It means there will be a significant increase in the attendance at sporting fixtures as the Covid-19 restrictions are further relaxed.

The current capacity for Croke Park is 18,000 ahead of this weekend’s Ulster and Leinster football finals. That will increase to 24,000 for the All-Ireland hurling semi-finals next weekend 7-8 August and the football fixtures the following weekend on 14-15 August.

The All-Ireland hurling final is on 22 August, the football decider on 29 August while the ladies football and camogie finals take place respectively on 5 and 12 September.

a-view-of-the-aviva-stadium-ahead-of-the-game The Aviva Stadium Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Ireland’s World Cup qualifier at the Aviva Stadium against Serbia and Azerbaijan will also have permitted attendances of 25,000 each.

Stephen Kenny’s team play Serbia on Saturday 4 September in their Group A match after playing away against Portugal three days previously. The match with Azerbaijan then is to take place on Tuesday 7 September.

“I am delighted to announce increased attendances for the All-Ireland semi-finals and finals as well as two World Cup Qualifiers. This is an important signal of how far we have come as a country.

“From the start of this process I stated we wanted to be ambitious around getting supporters back in stadia all around the country and the figures for the upcoming games show that is exactly what is happening.

“I am really pleased we have implemented a very careful return of crowds starting with smaller numbers at first and gradually increasing over the summer months. The pilot events have been a great success and have shown how live sporting and other events can be held in a safe manner.”

The announcement was welcomed by the FAI.

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“This news is so positive for Irish football and follows on from the recent positive experience of our own test events”, read a statement by FAI CEO Jonathan Hill. “Just last night I joined Minister Chambers at the Aviva Stadium for the UEFA Europa Conference League win for Bohemians against Dudelange of Luxembourg and the atmosphere was again fantastic.

“Now we can all really look forward to our supporters getting behind the Senior Men’s team for the first time since the pandemic. Many of our young players have yet to play before a home crowd at the Aviva Stadium so it will give them and Stephen Kenny such a lift to have 25,000 or so passionate Irish fans in the ground. One thing we have learned from the pandemic is that football is nothing without our fans.”

Updated at 19.18 with statement from FAI CEO 

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Fintan O'Toole

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