The country became the first in Europe to admit spectators back into the stands, but with the size of crowds dramatically reduced and social distancing measures put in place.

Under regulations imposed by the Hungarian national football federation (MLSZ), fans had to be spread out so that no more than one seat in four was occupied and every second row was entirely empty.

“The clubs organizing the matches must ensure that social distance is maintained in the stands to guarantee the conditions for epidemiological control,” the MLSZ said in a statement.

The first match with fans took place Friday, hosted by bottom side Kaposvar against fellow strugglers ZTE, with a social media posting from the MLSZ illustrating the new measures in place in a stadium that usually holds up to 7,000 spectators.

Home supporters who attended may have wished they had not bothered, with Kaposvar slumping to a 6-0 defeat to remain firmly rooted to the bottom of the standings.

In action Saturday, third-placed Mezokovesd visited DVTK, slipping to a 1-0 defeat, in a sparsely attended match although pockets of fans did appear to gather to create more of an atmosphere and cheer their team.

Fans of home side DVTK wait before the start of its home Hungarian league match against Mezokovesd.
Supporters of Mezokovesd appeared to be ignoring social distancing rules as they cheer their team on during its 1-0 defeat.
Supporters of DVTK had a little more to cheer in the sparsely attended match as a 1-0 home win lifted their side into fourth place.

A bigger test of whether fans will adhere to the new restrictions will come Sunday with the visit of league leader Ferencvaros to Puskas FC, the club from Felcsut, which is the hometown of football-supporting Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Thirty-time Hungarian champions Ferencvaros regularly attracts big crowds to its matches in a league where the average is just 3,000 per game.

Drive-in football fans

Meanwhile, fans in the Czech Republic, where the league has resumed behind closed doors, have been treated to a novel way to gather to show support for their team and watch live matches.

When Sparta Prague entertained second-placed Viktoria Plzen Wednesday, supporters were able to watch the game on big screens from inside their cars at drive-in movie theaters in Plzen and Prague.

Fans cheer as they watch the Czech first division football match between FC Viktoria Plzen and AC Sparta Praha at a drive-in movie theater in Plzen, Czech Republic.

The experiment proved a success, but vocal supporters left their cars at key moments with Plzen’s fans ending up happier as their team secured a 2-1 away win.



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