CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

5,000 fans could watch Messi-Ronaldo UCL Camp Nou showdown

Up to 5,000 spectators could be set to watch the the hotly anticipated Barcelona-Juve clash at Camp Nou on 8 December.

Barcelona-Juventus: 5,000 fans could watch Messi-Ronaldo showdown at Camp Nou

Barcelona and Juventus’ final group game on matchday six of the Champions League on 8 December could played in front of 5,000 fans as long as the coronavirus situation in the Catalan capital does not become “much worse” than it is at current.

According to a report by Agencia EFE, up to 5,000 spectators will be allowed into the stadium to watch the game provided health and safety protocols proposed by the club are approved by the Government of Catalunya (Generalitat de Catalunya).

The decision to allow fans into Camp Nou would be a landmark step amid the coronavirus pandemic that has forced clubs to keep their stadiums closed to the public since March.

The Uefa Super Cup final between Bayern Munch and Sevilla (2-1) in late September was watched by 15,000 fans at Budapest’s Puskas Stadium. But all Champions League, Europa league and domestic league fixtures have continued to be played behind closed doors.

“For the game against Juventus, unless the epidemiological situation gets much worse, I would say that the protocols may be ready so that Barcelona can have an audience (at Camp Nou)," Gerard Figueras, Secretary General of Sports of the Generalitat de Catalunya, said in a statement to Spanish news agency EFE.

The first group encounter between Juventus and Barcelona will take place next Wednesday, 28 October in front of an empty Juventus stadium. Juve superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has already been ruled out of the clash after he tested positive for coronavirus for a second time, killing hopes of a hotly anticipated showdown with Lionel Messi.

But the pair’s potential reunion in the return leg on 8 December would be seen as the ideal moment to coincide with the return of fans to Camp Nou after a nine-month hiatus.

Barcelona's Camp Nou stadium.

Barcelona's Camp Nou stadium.

Barcelona protocols only apply to Champions League

Figueras pointed out that the protocol on allowing spectators into Camp Nou can only be applied to international competitions like the Champions League – and not to LaLiga fixtures, as protocol on domestic league games is still governed by the Spanish central government in Madrid.

“At the moment it is not foreseen that there will be any will to change the criteria [on LaLiga games],” he added.

The Catalan sports secretary stated that once Barcelona has proven that it will incorporate the protocols established in the Champions League matches at Camp Nou, specifically the technical recommendations delivered this Thursday, then it will be allowed to welcome spectators into the stadium.

"Barça established a scale of spectators (1,000, 3,000, 5,000 and 10,0000), and we suggest that they should look at it on a game-by-game basis. We will begin with a starting number that does not necessarily have to be 1,000, it could be 3,000 or 5,000 viewers,” he told EFE.

A decision to allow fans to attend subsequent matches would be assessed based on the success of the measure in that first game between Barcelona and Juventus, as well on how the specific coronavirus situation is evolving at that current moment.

"Based on that, for the next match it will be assessed whether the 5,000-spectator level will increase or if it will remain at the same number," said Figueras.