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Barcelona fans set for Camp Nou return after 17-month absence

Barcelona fans are set to return to the Camp Nou for the first time in 17 months after local health authorities gave the green light for the stadium to open at 20% capacity for the Joan Gamper Trophy match against Juventus on August 8.

The capacity limit will allow 19,869 spectators to attend as Barcelona’s men’s and women’s teams both play against Juventus on the same day. The women’s match will kick off at 6pm, with the men’s game scheduled for 9.30pm.

It will mark the first time since March 7, 2020 that fans have been in attendance at the Camp Nou, with Barcelona playing matches behind closed doors for the entire 2020-21 season.

To ensure social distancing, the Camp Nou will be divided into eight blocks with their own entrances, catering and toilets. Fans will not be permitted to move from one zone to another to limit contact and crowding.

It will mark only the third time that a women’s match has been played at the Camp Nou. The first time was on Christmas Day 1970 and the second was on January 6 as Barcelona defeated Espanyol 5-0. Barcelona’s women’s team normally plays its home matches at the Estadi Johan Cruyff.

In other news, the opening match of the German Bundesliga season between Borussia Mönchengladbach and Bayern Munich on August 13 will be played in front of 23,000 fans at Borussia-Park.

Earlier this month, it was announced that a maximum of 25,000 fans would be permitted to enter venues for major sporting events in Germany, providing COVID-19 infection rates do not exceed 35 per 100,000 people over the previous seven days.

Borussia Mönchengladbach confirmed that the 23,000 capacity limit has been set as the seats at Borussia-Park must be arranged in a checkerboard pattern to ensure social distancing.

Only fans who have been vaccinated, have proof of immunity, or have tested negative for COVID-19 will be allowed in the stadium, which has a capacity of 54,000.

The German Football League (DFL) also announced earlier this month that away fans will be able to return to Bundesliga and 2.Bundesliga stadia from the third round of games in the 2021-22 season.

The DFL said that as long as spectator capacity is still subject to legal restrictions, 5% of the tickets for each game are to be reserved for away fans. Once restrictions are lifted completely, there will be an automatic return to the intended allocation of 10%.

The 25,000 capacity limit is initially set to run until September 11.

Image: Alessio Patron on Unsplash