REAL MADRID

Real Madrid: The Bernabéu is ready to stage official matches

UEFA have approved for the stadium to fill 30% of its capacity but Madrid's local authorities will have the final say whether the public can return.

Only recently, the new turf was laid and now necessary adjustments have been made to the stands to provide seating for the general public. The New Bernabéu is now ready to hold matches even though remodelling work will continue through to the summer of 2022. But the most recent development is that everything is ready for when the Spanish government give the green light for football games to be played with the public in attendance once again, albeit in front of a limited crowd. It comes just as UEFA have announced that all European matches can be played with spectators in the stands as long as only 30% of the stadium's capacity is used.

After last month's successful trial game in the UEFA Super Cup in Budapest, European football's organising body have decided to allowed fans to return in small numbers (30%)  for matches played in the Champions League, Europa League, Nation League, international friendlies and Youth League games - starting with next week's international fixtures. But for that to happen in Spain, approval is required from the Spanish government. New movement restrictions will come into force from 22:00 hours tonight across the capital and those measures are expected to remain in place for the next 14 days.

Real Madrid hoping public can return before 2021

But Real Madrid are hoping that fans will be able to return to watch football matches before the end of 2020 - despite the capital having one of the worst coronavirus infection rates in Europe. The message from the club is, “If it is decided that fans can return to football stadiums tomorrow, we'll be ready”.

The club had to refurbish the access points to the upper tiers of the stadium (the lower sections running around the pitch have been removed as part of the ongoing construction work), while Ground Manager Paul Burgess oversaw the relaying of the pitch at the start of September. However, for the moment Madrid are sticking to their original plan which is for the first team to play all of their home games at Estadio Alfredo Di Stéfano in Valdebebas - including Champions League games. For that to change, Spain's Sports Council (CSD) would first need to grant permission for the public to attend. It is not a big problem for Madrid at the moment as staging games at the Bernabéu would involve a lot of effort in clearing all machinery, equipment, dismantling scaffolding then reassembling it all between every game.