Here, no history of gauge, social distancing in the stadium or compulsory mask in the spans. Welcome to Hungary, only one of the eleven host countries of the Euro to have decided to fill its Budapest stadium, the Puskas Arena, to 100%. A political choice that will allow the national team, qualified for its second European Championship in a row, to evolve according to UEFA in front of 61,000 spectators for its entry into the running against Portugal on Tuesday (6 p.m.) and to put it back against les Bleus Saturday (3 p.m.). They will face Portugal there, then Budapest will say goodbye to the Euro with a round of 16.
For the first time since March 2020, an international match in Europe will be played in a packed venue, inaugurated in 2019. A goal posted by local authorities in April, when Hungary was going through a murderous third wave of the epidemic of Covid-19 and for a time became the country with the worst mortality in the world. With more than 3,000 deaths per million inhabitants, it deplores a toll almost twice as high as France.
But the country led by Viktor Orban, reluctant to implement health restrictions, does not intend to miss the first international football competition organized, albeit in part, on its soil.
"Let's be happy that there are matches and that Budapest can host a sold-out match," said Jeno Sipos, spokesperson for the Hungarian football federation.
In addition to filling its stadium, the capital of this central European country is deploying a fan-zone capable of accommodating up to 11,000 people in a city park.
"Irresponsible," said Gabriella Lantos, health expert in an opposition party, who fears the effects of a fourth wave.
The vaccine, the country's “bulletproof vest”
This is less the case with the authorities, who highlight the more than 42% of Hungarians already fully vaccinated, where France is slightly above 21%. To do this, Hungary was the first member of the European Union to allow the Chinese and Russian vaccine on its soil in February. "The vaccine is like a bulletproof vest, the virus bounces off it," boasts Viktor Orban, whose government has implemented an immunity card, allowing its wearer to access restaurants, cinemas or very popular local public baths.
This pass will also allow Hungarians access to the Puskas Arena, where wearing a mask is recommended but not compulsory, on Tuesday. For foreign supporters, a negative PCR test will be required, carried out less than 72 hours before the start of the match. In the absence of an agreement with France, fully vaccinated French supporters will not be able to assert their immunity. To spread out arrivals, the organizers also require ticket holders to arrive within a defined time slot of 30 minutes, where they will have to undergo a temperature test. Before finally, going to relive the sensations of the world before in a packed enclosure.