Poland, Russia plan to allow spectators at soccer games
Polish football supporters will be able to attend matches starting on June 19, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Friday, but only 25 per cent of the capacity of stadiums will be used to prevent COVID-19 from spreading.
Although several European leagues are restarting after the coronavirus outbreak, matches are being played behind closed doors. The Polish league will be one of the first to allow spectators.
“The Polish Football Association and the Premier League have chosen the 19th, so it will be possible to prepare everything according to the correct procedures,” Morawiecki said.
“We all need football and sport. This is the important element of our return to the new normality. That’s why we give the opportunity to football fans to participate in the events at the stadiums, of course only after securing adequate safety measures. The specific rules will be announced soon.”
The league said in a statement that the exact number of spectators would depend on the stadiums, but the maximum would be one quarter of capacity.
The league was one of the first in Europe to announce a return to action following the coronavirus stoppage, with the first match played Friday between Slask Wroclaw
and Rakow Czestochowa.
“All the players were tested for COVID-19 and their results were negative,” league president Marcin Animucki said.
“We are well prepared for the return. The people that will come to the stadiums will be secure. It will be an excellent time for the promotion of Polish football in Europe.”
There are four rounds of matches left in the regular season. After that, the top eight teams qualify for the championship group, where they’ll play for the title and European places, while the remaining eight go into the relegation round.
‘MOOD IS VERY STRANGE’
Russia’s Sports Minister said on Friday he welcomed a decision by the authorities to allow spectators into stadiums when matches in the country’s top professional soccer league resume next month.
The Russian Premier League halted matches in mid-march because of the COVID-19 crisis and is set to resume action on June 21.
“It’s important that the soccer championship resumes in the presence of spectators, even though small in number,” Russian news agencies quoted Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin as saying.
“I watched Bundesliga matches. The mood is very strange. There isn’t enough emotion. Without spectators, the matches don’t look the way we are used to.”
Several European pro leagues resumed matches this month, including German’s top professional league, but without spectators.
Russia’s consumer health watchdog agreed on Thursday that stadiums could welcome spectators at Russian Premier League matches if they took up no more than 10 per cent of a given venue’s capacity.
Champions Zenit Saint Petersburg currently lead the standings on 50 points after 22 matches played. Lokomotiv Moscow and Krasnodar are second and third respectively, nine points behind the leaders.
Earlier this month, Russia said it would allow foreign athletes competing in its domestic sports leagues to enter the country.
It said the move was designed to help clubs resume training.
LA LIGA TO RETURN
Spain’s La Liga will restart on June 11, nearly three months after it shut down because of the coronavirus.
The Spanish government announced this week that competitive sports could return on June 8, and Spain’s National Sports Council confirmed La Liga’s comeback date on Friday.
The Seville derby between Sevilla and Real Betis is scheduled to be played that day.
There won’t be any fans in the stands during the matches, and clubs must follow the league’s safety protocol, which was approved by the Ministry of Health.