LaLiga: Spanish football fans allowed back into stadiums
The Spanish government has given the go-ahead for fans to return for the last two games of the season in the top two divisions, with 30% capacity.
The public will be able to return to watch football matches inside the stadiums in Spain but only in the regions which are in Phase I of the government's de-escalation plan (areas with a stable seven-day incidence of less than 50 new infections per 100,000). It means that 14 months after the pandemic forced all football and basketball games in Spain to be played behind closed doors, the government have given the go-ahead for fans to return in the final games in the top two football leagues and the Liga Endesa, the basketball top flight - but not in every part of the country. Four autonomous communities - Valencia, Galicia, Extremadura and Baleares will be able to welcome the public back.
Minister for Culture and Sport, José Manuel Rodríguez Uribes announced the news on Wednesday at the Inter-Territorial Health Council of the National Health System: "We will have public back inside the stadiums for football and basketball games. They will be allowed to return in the regions which are in Phase I of the pandemic, where the epidemiological figures are better. It will be with 30% of local fans with a limit of 5,000 spectators. The Community of Valencia will be able to have fans at the ground for the home matches involving Valencia, Villarreal, Levante, Castellón and Elche," he explained.
Health Minister Carolina Darias gave details about the protocol which will be in place so that the the public can return safely: "The return of the public will be possible in the regions currently in Phase I of the traffic light system. Members of the public attending these games will need to maintain a distance of 1.5 metre with other people at all times. Also, entry and exit of the ground will be staggered and in different sections of the venue. Those attending will not be allowed to eat, smoke and must wear a FFP2 mask, without exhalation valve. Their temperature will be taken on entry".
Spain's government have conceded, to a degree, to the constant petitions from LaLiga, through their president Javier Tebas, and the Liga Endesa, from president Antonio Martín, to allow the public back into sports stadiums to be able to watch games live.
The government has delayed allowing the public back due to the epidemiological data about the Covid-19 virus in Spain. The state of emergency was lifted on 9 May. The country's vaccine rollout has also been gathering pace in recent weeks, and those factors have contributed to the decision to let spectators back but only in the regions which are now in Phase I. The decisions on which territories can welcome back the public will be reviewed weekly. If a region is not in Phase 1, the public will not be allowed at matches.
Spain's clubs have been prepared for this moment for the past year but have not been able to do anything until La Liga, the Health Ministry and the Catalan regional government gave the green light and set out certain conditions. It is still not 100% decided and LaLiga could turn around and reject the measures being proposed. The clubs will meet on Thursday to discuss the matter and put forward their own ideas.
The games which could be affected
These are the games which could see fans back for the last two games of the season: Villarreal-Sevilla and Valencia-Eibar, in Week 37; Elche-Athletic, Levante-Cádiz and Celta-Betis, in Week 38. In the second division, fans will be able to watch Castellón-Ponferradina; Castellón-Rayo and Lugo-Mirandés.