Special Rule Set for England vs. Serbia Euro 2024 Opener in Gelsenkirchen

As England prepares to face Serbia in their opening match of Euro 2024, a unique measure will alter the typical matchday experience for fans. The game, scheduled to take place at the Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen, is expected to draw a significant crowd, with estimates suggesting around 40,000 England supporters and at least 8,000 Serbian fans making their way to the city.

Amid concerns over potential disturbances, with fears that up to 500 Serbian hooligans might be among the spectators, authorities have deemed the match a “high risk” event. In response, a series of precautionary steps have been outlined to ensure the safety and security of all attendees.

One unprecedented decision bound to catch fans’ interest is the adjustment in alcohol policy specifically for this fixture. Unlike the standard offerings at football matches, attendees at the England vs. Serbia game will find the beer options limited to a lighter variant, with just 2.8% alcohol by volume, a notable drop from the usual 4.8% Bitburger Premium lager typically served. Authorities have confirmed that this alteration is exclusive to the England-Serbia match, with normal service resuming for subsequent games hosted at the venue.

To further manage alcohol consumption, a restriction has been placed on purchases at the stadium, limiting fans to buying no more than two beers at a time. Fans wishing to enjoy more will need to rejoin queues. Moreover, a ban on alcohol consumption has been enforced at Heinrich-Konig-Platz, the city’s main square, before the game kicks off. Those found drinking in the area will be asked to discard their beverages.

In anticipation of the heightened security needs, a significant increase in police presence has been planned, surpassing the numbers typically deployed for Bundesliga matches. The augmented security forces will include local police backed by additional personnel from England and Serbia, all collaborating to facilitate a safe and enjoyable event for everyone involved.

The decision to impose these specific rules for the England vs. Serbia game underscores the commitment of the authorities to prevent any disruptions and ensure the focus remains on the football. As fans from both nations converge in Gelsenkirchen, the hope is that these measures will contribute to a peaceful and celebratory atmosphere, befitting the spirit of Euro 2024.

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