The Spanish Government has today (Wednesday) lifted stadium capacity limits set during COVID-19, while the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) has announced that fans are set to return to Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A stadia for the first time in over a year.

The Interterritorial Council of Spain’s National Health System has approved, with the agreement of all members and a single abstention, the specific measures against COVID-19 adopted for the month of October in competitions organised by LaLiga, the organising body of the top two divisions of domestic football, Liga ACB basketball, and other sporting events.

As stated in the agreement, stadium events will return to 100% capacity, with arenas permitted 80% capacity. At the beginning of September, it was announced that Spanish stadiums would be able to increase capacity to 60% after COVID-19 vaccination across the population reached the milestone of 70%.

Outdoor venues, such as LaLiga football stadiums, were able to go up to 60% during September from the 40% limit that was introduced at the start of August. Indoor venues increased to 40% from the previous limit of 30%. In both indoor and outdoor arenas, operators had to guarantee a minimum interpersonal distance of 1.5m.

Throughout this period the autonomous communities have had the right to reduce capacity limits, as has happened in Catalonia and the Basque Country. The Government today said that mask wearing will remain mandatory in venues, while in general, the sale or consumption of food, beverage and tobacco will not be allowed during sporting events. A further evaluation of the situation will be carried out in the last week of October.

Meanwhile, following meetings held by Serie A clubs yesterday, Brazilian football fans will return to the stadium for this weekend’s 23rd round of fixtures. The move was backed by 18 of the 20 Serie A clubs, with only Athletico Paranaense voting against the proposal and Flamengo declining to attend the meeting.

The percentage of the stadium that can be occupied will be determined by the local health authorities in which the clubs are based. However, the Uol Esporte website reports that the clubs have reached an agreement that they can choose to postpone their games this weekend if local authorities have not given permission for fan attendance. This has been taken up for Bahia v Ceará and Santos v Fluminense.

Palmeiras and Juventude, as well as Red Bull Bragantino v Corinthians, also had this option, but will instead take place behind closed doors.

The games now set for fan attendance are: Fortaleza v Atlético-GO, Cuiabá v América-MG, Atlético-Mineiro v Internacional, Flamengo v Athletico-PR, Chapecoense v São Paulo and Grêmio v Sport.

CBF interim president Ednaldo Rodrigues said in a statement: “This is a joint decision of the clubs, an important step for the presence of fans in the stadiums, which is being taken in partnership with the health authorities, always respecting the protocol drawn up by the medical commission organised by the CBF. 

“We hope that the fans, the greatest beauty in football, will shine again and get emotional in the stadiums.”

Image: Victoria Primak on Unsplash