Spain to allow some fans into soccer games for season finale

MADRID (AP) — Spanish authorities announced Wednesday that a limited number of fans will be allowed back into some soccer and basketball games, 14 months after the start of the pandemic.

Spain’s Minister of Culture and Sports José Manuel Rodríguez Uribes said that a few thousand fans will be allowed into games for final two rounds of the Spanish league, but only in those regions with low incidence rates.

On Wednesday, only the regions of eastern Valencia and northwestern Galicia met the requirements considered “low risk” by Spanish health authorities. That means that only two Spanish league games Sunday — Valencia vs. Eibar and Villarreal vs. Sevilla — could have spectators.

Those stadiums will be limited to a maximum of 5,000 people. Only fans from the home team will be allowed in to discourage travel, and social distancing must be maintained inside the stadium.

Atlético Madrid, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Sevilla all have a chance to win the title in the closest race in years.

Spain is hoping to have up to 16,000 fans at European Championship games to be held in Seville in June.

Fans will also return to Spain’s basketball league for its playoffs starting at the end of the month.

Spain ordered stadiums to shut when the pandemic struck the European country in March 2020. The soccer league started playing again a few months later without fans.

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