MADRID- Spain will lift capacity restrictions in professional soccer and basketball games from the next season, Health Minister Carolina Darias said on Thursday, paving the way for a return to full stadiums in La Liga.
Grounds in the top two divisions have mostly lain empty since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in March 2020, although a small number of top-flight clubs such as Valencia and Celta Vigo welcomed supporters back in the final two rounds of games, albeit with limited capacity and strict social distancing rules.
The government's decision means local authorities will decide whether fans can attend matches and in what numbers.
La Liga president Javier Tebas said earlier this month stadiums would be at 70% capacity from the start of the campaign, although the central government's announcement means clubs in regions with low virus incidence could have full stadiums.
Spain has played in front of over 12,000 fans in group games at Euro 2020 in Seville after supporters were also let in for pre-tournament friendlies against Portugal and Lithuania.
The national team will count on an even bigger crowd when it meets Croatia in a last-16 game at Copenhagen's Parken Stadium, which has hosted around 24,000 fans for Denmark's group games.
(Reporting by Emma Pinedo and Richard Martin, editing by Andrei Khalip and Barbara Lewis) ((firstname.lastname@example.org; +918 35 68 34;))