News that 13,000 fans will attend the Uefa Super Cup between Chelsea and Villareal at Windsor Park in Belfast on August 11 has given Irish League and Northern Ireland fans fresh hope that all restrictions on attendances will lift.
Danske Bank Premiership sides have been playing in front of limited crowds for over a year but all that is likely to change now.
Windsor Park will be allowed to operate at 70% of its maximum capacity for the Super Cup.
All spectators will be asked to show proof of double vaccination or provide a negative Covid-19 test on entry.
The NI Executive said UEFA VIP guests and Villarreal fans coming from Spain would be allowed to enter the country without self-isolating.
“We welcome yesterday’s announcement by the Northern Ireland Executive and, following subsequent detailed discussions with our government partners and UEFA, we are delighted to announce that the UEFA Super Cup Final will be played on 11 August, at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, with a voluntarily reduced capacity crowd of 13,000,” said IFA chief-executive Patrick Nelson.
Northern Ireland will face Switzerland in a World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park on September 8 and a near capacity 18,400 attendance could be possible.