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Professional clubs don't expect fans to return before the end of the season

The last game in front of fans at La Rosaleda.
The last game in front of fans at La Rosaleda. / ÑITO SALAS
  • Spectators have been absent from all Primera and Segunda games since March 2020 and the third wave and the slow rollout of the vaccine mean this is unlikely to change

Almost eleven months after the last game to be played at La Rosaleda with spectators (coincidentally also against Real Zaragoza), the prospects of getting fans back into grounds is not great, despite the wishes of the clubs themselves.

Professional football in Spain (the top two divisions) has been played behind closed doors since the start of March 2020 and now the majority of teams assume that fans won't return before the end of the current season. At Malaga, bosses are no longer contemplating any scenario where spectators are allowed back in despite there still being 15 weeks to go until the scheduled end of the season.

On 15 January, the president of the High Council of Sport (CSD), Irene Lozano, was due to meet with the presidents of LaLiga, Javier Tebas, and the Association of Basketball Clubs (ACB), Antonio Martín, to analyse the possible return of fans. However, the surge of the third wave of the pandemic put paid to those plans.

The ACB has already suggested that it will ask the CSD for an injection of 10 to 12 million euros to avoid the bankruptcy of the competing teams after they experienced an average 20 per cent loss of income without fans.

LaLiga, in contrast, was clear in the summer that its clubs had to budget under the understanding that there would be no income from season tickets and box offices to avoid any significant shortfalls this year.

However, despite this certain level of peace of mind from an economic point of view, teams in the top two tiers are hoping that fans, in some capacity or other, even in limited numbers, are able to attend at least some games in the upcoming three and a half months. However, the third wave and the slow rollout of the vaccine are likely to prove obstacles.

At present, players and staff are expected to follow strict protocols to avoid any matches being postponed (there has only been one so far, Sabadell-Alcorcón). For this reason, since last week, FFP2 masks have been required for anyone who can currently enter Primera and Segunda stadiums.