Spain considers allowing football fans to return to matches, health ministry to evaluate risks

Simon said the issue was discussed on Tuesday in an online meeting between Health Minister Salvador Illa, Sports Minister Irene Lozano and four La Liga players including Barcelona’s Gerard Pique and Atletico Madrid’s Koke.

Reuters June 03, 2020 13:33:34 IST
Spain considers allowing football fans to return to matches, health ministry to evaluate risks

Spain’s health ministry is weighing up whether to let fans back into football stadiums when the season restarts later in June after a three-month pause due to the new coronavirus pandemic, Health Emergency Coordinator Fernando Simon said on Tuesday.

Spain considers allowing football fans to return to matches health ministry to evaluate risks

File image of Barcelona fans. Reuters

Simon explained that regions which had moved into phase three of the de-escalation process could be authorised to hold matches with spectators but added that they might be prevented from doing so in the interest of sporting fairness.

The top-flight is starting up again on 11 June with the Segunda Division resuming a day later, and organising body La Liga has said all matches should be played without supporters in order to prevent a second wave of the coronavirus outbreak.

But second-tier Las Palmas have started a discussion about fans returning after their president Miguel Angel Ramirez said he hoped fans could attend their first match back against Girona.

Simon said the issue was discussed on Tuesday in an online meeting between Health Minister Salvador Illa, Sports Minister Irene Lozano and four La Liga players including Barcelona’s Gerard Pique and Atletico Madrid’s Koke.

He added that the players and the department for sport do not want supporters at matches until every club is allowed to have them back.

“The department for sport have agreed this with the players. That decision did not come from the health department as it’s not something we considered when evaluating the risks,” Simon said.

“We haven’t given any firm answer as we are obviously not in a position to do so yet but it is true that the health minister has committed to evaluating the risks. And if a region is in phase three (fans attending matches) will be evaluated.”

Spain, one of the countries in Europe worst-affected by the virus, imposed a strict lockdown in March but has been easing restrictions according to progress made in each region.

The majority of provinces are expected to move into phase three from 8 June, with the exception of the region of Madrid, the province of Barcelona and some provinces in Castille Leon.

La Liga president Javier Tebas has said the organisation is planning for supporters to return to stadiums in stages next season, which is due to begin on 12 September, as long as they get the green light from health authorities.

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