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Football fans to be let back into stadiums from September
Football fans will be let back into Belgian stadiums from 11 September, the Belgian Pro League has announced, although only at a fraction of the capacity.
The agreement, hammered out by with the sports ministers from Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels, gives professional football clubs in the Pro League’s 1A and 1B divisions the exemption they have been seeking in recent weeks from the strict crowd gathering rules that apply elsewhere in Belgium.
"We're convinced that our clubs and their fans will put everything in place so the return to the stadiums takes place in the safest possible way,” said Belgian Pro League secretary general Pierre Francois.
Between 400 and 5,000 fans will be allowed in to watch their clubs according to the stadium capacity, which range from 8,000 at KV Oostende’s Albertparkstadion to 30,023 at Standard de Liège’s Stade de Sclessin.
The Belgian Pro League championship already started on 8 August, with matches played behind closed doors. The arrangement should be in place by the time of the fifth set of Pro-League matches, which take place between 11 and 14 September.
The deal, backed by interior minister Pieter De Crem and key virologists, has still to be approved by the local authorities where each stadium is located. "Many Belgian fans will be delighted to see football matches in the stadium again and support their players,” De Crem said.
Clubs have to agree strict conditions to secure their exemptions, including social distancing, disinfections and masks – apart from the five members of any "social bubble".
The stadiums also need clear signage, temperature controls, separated entrance and exits, no moving from the assigned seats, and the stadium bars will have to be closed.