The presidents of the Italian Football Federation and Serie A have welcomed the decision to allow vaccinated crowds of up to 50% capacity into stadiums.

The Italian government has altered rules to allow a 'checkerboard' seating pattern at stadiums, with one free seat between each spectator in each row.

Previously, regulations allowed 50% capacity crowds but enforced a one-metre distance between fans, which logistically meant that most stadiums could only be filled to around 30% capacity.

Only holders of the ‘Green Pass’, who are vaccinated against Covid-19, will be allowed to attend matches, while the maximum capacity allowed at indoor sporting venues has risen from 25 to 35%.

"Today's measure is a first step towards reaching our objective of having full stadiums again as soon as possible," said Serie A president Paolo Dal Pino.

Large crowds have not been permitted to enter stadiums in Italy since the pandemic first struck in early 2020, and many clubs have suffered financially from the subsequent loss of revenue.

The decision comes a week after the Federation called on Italy’s government to introduce measures to improve the economic outlook it said endangers football’s survival as a business, including allowing full crowds back into stadiums.

"The decision represents an important and concrete sign of trust towards the world of football," said Federation president Gabriele Gravina.

The Serie A season kicks off on 21 August when champions Inter Milan host Genoa.