Greece reverses plan on fans ahead of Champions League match

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — On the eve of a Champions League match between Olympiakos and Marseille, the prime minister of Greece reversed a government decision on Tuesday to allow a limited number of fans back into soccer stadiums.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in a statement the pilot scheme would have “sent the wrong message to members of the public.”

The reversal came after the government announced late Monday that it would begin allowing fans back into stadiums, capping attendance at 10% capacity with a maximum attendance set at 3,500.

The scheme was due to start with Wednesday’s Champions League match at Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium in Piraeus, before being extended to other European and domestic matches.

The prime minister said the decision was taken after “taking into account that there has been an increase in (COVID-19) cases all over Europe” and the “need to avoid any public gathering with a strict observance of health rules.”

Greece is battling a surge in infections. Piraeus and the rest of greater Athens are currently at the second-highest stage of pandemic alert, with capacity restrictions on public transport and early closing times for bars.

Olympiakos canceled its earlier ticketing announcement after the the statement from the prime minister’s office.

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