COVID-19: Spanish PM stresses need for single fans policy before LaLiga restart

Prime minister Pedro Sanchez has indicated there will be no exceptions allowed for as long as Spain adopts a behind-closed-doors policy for football.

A logical first step towards crowds returning to LaLiga could see limited numbers of fans permitted into stadiums, to allow for social distancing and minimal risk of coronavirus contagion.

However, Sanchez was giving little away about discussions that have taken place, other than to confirm the matter has been talked over with presidents of Spain’s autonomous communities and that efforts are being made to find solutions.

“The issue of seats in football and basketball stadiums has come up at the Conference of Presidents,” Sanchez confirmed on Sunday.

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“The Ministry of Health, with the Higher Sports Council and also with leagues and federations, is working to see if we can give a common answer.”

There should not be separate resolutions for individual communities, Sanchez stressed.

“I think it is fair that there are no differences and not for there to be fans in the stadium in one place and not in another,” Sanchez said, quoted widely in Spanish media.

“The public health bodies are based in the autonomous communities, but we are not going to give up on giving a homogeneous response, that it is legal from an intellectual point of view, for all the fans and teams of football and basketball.”

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The COVID-19 crisis is forcing football in most parts of the world to exclude supporters from the matchday stadium experience, with Germany’s Bundesliga recently resuming in front of empty stands.

It looks set to be the same story when LaLiga gets under way in the coming days, although Segunda Division club Las Palmas have claimed they could open the doors of their Gran Canaria stadium to fans for the June 13 clash with Girona.

Las Palmas president Miguel Angel Ramirez raised the prospect, saying his club’s idea had received the approval of Angel Victor Torres, regional president of the Canary Islands.

On Sunday, however, Torres suggested the islands would fall in line with whatever nationwide agreement is reached.

Torres said, quoted by La Provincia, a Las Palmas-based newspaper: “In order to open the stadium in this sense, there must be a specific sanitary protocol, and we will see if it is accepted.

“It must be undertaken with tremendous security measures.

“Pedro Sanchez has said that in the next few days we will have a response to the proposal of the different autonomies, including the Canary Islands, to open the stadiums. Always respecting the safety rules in search of that normality. But for now, we have to wait a few days.”

Spain has been one of the worst-hit countries in Europe by the pandemic, with over 27,000 deaths, but strict lockdown measures and a staggered release of those restrictions across autonomous regions has helped to keep infection and death rates under control in recent weeks.




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