Coronavirus: Belgium green-lights return of fans to football stadiums
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    Coronavirus: Belgium green-lights return of fans to football stadiums

    © DAVID PINTENS/BELGA

    Football fans in Belgium could fill stadium bleachers again as early as mid-September after plans to exempt football matches from coronavirus audience limitations were endorsed by government officials.

    The Pro League said on Monday that regional sports ministers had given the green light to their plan to begin holding matchings with supporters again and to be exempt from having to cap the audience at 400 people.

    “The constructive cooperation with the various cabinets and ministers means that from September onwards, potentially more than 400 fans can attend the home games of their club,” the League said in an online statement.

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    According to the football association, Federal Minister Pieter De Crem was also “satisfied” with their proposed protocol, which, under the current timeline, is set to bring supporters back to the stadium from the second weekend of September, in plans that so far concern only home matches.

    Local authorities will now have to strike agreements with their football clubs depending on the size and characteristics of individual stadiums.

    The wider Pro League protocol foresees to bypass the maximum number of 400 people allowed to attend an outdoor event by spacing out separate groups of 400 supporters across a stadium’s bleachers, RTBF reports.

    Face masks, temperature checks and no drinking

    According to the French outlet, face masks will remain mandatory for supporters who, except within their own social bubble of five people, will also be bound to social-distancing rules even as they cheer for their teams throughout the match.

    The League’s proposed plan also says that stadiums will have to admit supporters by stages in order to avoid crowding at the entrance and that fans’ body temperature will be checked before entering.

    Pre-defined pathways to guide supporters throughout the stadium will also have to be defined and fans would not be allowed to move around the stadium and will be largely required to keep their seat.

    Additionally, stadiums’ bars will remain closed.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times