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Return of fans in La Liga this season not advisable for now — minister

LA LIGA’S plans to have fans return to watch matches was dealt a blow after Spain’s health minister said it would not be advisable to do so for now. — LA LIGA FB PAGE

MADRID — Spain’s health minister has said it would not be advisable for spectators to attend La Liga games for the remainder of the season due to the continued threat of the coronavirus, dealing another blow to the league’s plans for fans to return.

Organizing body La Liga had been hoping to welcome fans back to top-flight and second-division matches in limited numbers from next weekend after national infection rates began to slow.

“I don’t think it would be the most advisable thing to do for what is left of the season,” minister Carolina Darias told a news conference in Oviedo on Monday.

She said Spain’s national infection rate was 229 people per 100,000 but added there was a huge range of rates between the 17 autonomous regions, with rates below 70 per 100,000 in some regions but up to 500 per 100,000 in others.

La Liga said in a statement it has requested autonomous regions to determine whether or not supporters can attend matches, and that its committee had approved the proposal in the knowledge that some clubs would not be able to have fans back.

The statement added that La Liga would try to convince the government to reconsider its stance, which it described as “discriminatory and incoherent.”

No crowds have been allowed at top-flight or second-division matches since the pandemic first halted Spanish football in March 2020.

Limited numbers of spectators have been let in to other sporting events such as the Barcelona Open tennis tournament last month and the Madrid Open, which began last week. — Reuters