Football fans are set to return in some areas of Spain after Culture and Sports Minister José Manuel Rodríguez Uribes gave the green light for spectators to attend matches in regions where COVID-19 infection rates are low.

Fans will also be permitted to return to Liga ACB basketball games during the end-of-season play-offs. It will mark the first time that fans have attended football and basketball matches in Spain since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March last year.

Stadiums will be allowed to open at 30% capacity, or with a maximum of 5,000 fans. Only home fans will be permitted and social distancing will be in place inside the stadium, while fans will have their temperatures taken upon entry.

There are currently only two regions – eastern Valencia and northwestern Galicia – where the COVID-19 infection rate is low enough to allow fans at matches. This would mean that Valencia and Villarreal are the only two LaLiga teams that could welcome spectators this weekend, while Levante, Elche and Celta Vigo could admit fans the following week.

The decision to allow fans to return to Spanish stadiums has been taken as the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccinations continues in the country. A weekly review of regions’ COVID-19 alert level will be carried out and LaLiga clubs are set to meet today (Thursday) to discuss fan attendance plans in more detail.

Spain will also be a host country for the rescheduled UEFA European Championships, which get underway on June 11. Four matches will take place at Seville’s Estadio La Cartuja, which has replaced Bilbao’s San Mamés after the latter was dropped amid uncertainty over its ability to welcome fans.

Estadio La Cartuja will host Spain’s three group stage matches and a round of 16 fixture. The stadium is set to open at 30% capacity for the tournament, meaning that around 18,000 fans will be in attendance.

Image: Valencia CF/CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size