Warsaw, Poland – On May 26, the eyes of the football community will turn to the Polish city of Gdańsk, which hosts the Europa League final between England’s Manchester United and Spain’s Villarreal, as fans are expected back for the first time in Poland since the pandemic began.
Gdańsk’s PGE Arena, which has a capacity of nearly 42,000, will however be restricted to 25 per cent capacity or up to 9,500 spectators, due to Covid-19 regulations.
6,000 tickets were available for general release with the remaining 3,500 allocated to the local organizing committee, UEFA and national associations, commercial partners and broadcasters.
“Supporters from abroad will have to comply with border entry restrictions and requirements that will be in force at the time of the final as no exemptions will be granted to ticket holders,” reads of statement from the Polish authorities.
“Access to the stadium will be granted in line with the applicable local legislation, which is to be confirmed by the local authorities during this week and may include the need for proof of a vaccine or a negative COVID-19 test result.”
While Manchester United fans will have to quarantine on their return to the UK as Poland is on the government’s amber list, an update on the Gdańsk Airport website has confirmed there will be no need to isolate upon arrival in the city.
“Each person who has a ticket for the Europa League final in Gdansk, arriving from the United Kingdom, does not have to take the test after arrival,” a statement read.
Despite having won only two games out of their their last five outings, three-time-Champions-League-winners Manchester United, who won the Europa League back in 2017, are still heavy favorites to win against Villarreal, who finished 7th of La Liga.
This feeling was echoed by Villarreal defender Raul Albiol: “Because of their history and because of their squad, Manchester United are the favourites ahead of the final. They’re a giant in the football world. This is the first final we are going to play in. We know what our strengths are and the only way we can win is by being at our best.”
But with Villarreal finishing outside of La Liga’s European places for next season, the final in Poland could prove pivotal for Unai Emery’s side from whom a victory is now their last chance to play European football next season.
This is only the second time that Poland hosts the Europa League final after the 2015 showpiece between Sevilla and Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk was held at Warsaw’s National Stadium.