Spain’s Ministry of Health has imposed a 40% capacity limit on LaLiga football stadiums for the start of the 2021-22 season.

Indoor venues such as Liga ACB basketball arenas will be limited to 30% capacity. Social distancing guidelines will be in place at all venues amid the ongoing risks posed by COVID-19.

Fans attending football and basketball games will be required to wear a mask. No food or beverages will be sold on match days, with the consumption of tobacco and related products also banned.

Indoor arenas have also been recommended to provide permanent natural ventilation where possible to reduce the potential risk of COVID-19 infection.

These guidelines will initially be in place from August 13, when the LaLiga season gets underway, until August 29. The capacity restrictions will then be reviewed in early September.

The announcement will mean that fans can return across LaLiga after the vast majority of matches during the 2020-21 season were held behind closed doors.

Only a small number of matches towards the end of the season went ahead with fans after Spain’s Culture and Sports Minister José Manuel Rodriguez Uribes gave the green light for spectators to attend in regions where COVID-19 infection rates were low.

Stadiums were limited to open at 30% capacity, with the announcement allowing Villarreal to welcome 5,000 fans and Valencia to welcome 3,000 on the penultimate weekend of the season. Levante, Elche and Celta Vigo were also able to welcome a small number of fans on the final day of the season.

Barcelona recently detailed plans to welcome more than 19,000 fans for its friendly match against Juventus on August 8 but the club was forced to switch the fixture to Estadi Johan Cruyff after a capacity limit of 3,000 was imposed by the Government of Catalonia.

Barcelona last welcomed fans to the Camp Nou on March 7, 2020 and the club said last week that it was committed to having fans in the stands for its season opener against Real Sociedad on August 15.

The English Premier League is planning on starting its new season with no restrictions on capacity after all guidelines on social distancing were lifted in the country. Germany’s Bundesliga has set an attendance cap of 25,000, with Italy’s Serie A having imposed a 25% capacity limit.

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