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Crowds to return to Spain's stadiums next season

A full crowd at the La Rosaleda stadium, Malaga.
A full crowd at the La Rosaleda stadium, Malaga. / ÑITO SALAS
  • The return of the fans to the stands is a major relief for professional clubs, which have seen how the pandemic destroyed their income forecasts

The news that football and basketball clubs have been waiting for for months finally arrived on Thursday, when the Spanish government gave permission for the public to return to the stadiums for next season. The Cabinet has approved removing article 15.2 of the 'new normal' law, which restricted the access of spectators to the sports spaces of the Professional Football League and the ACB Basketball League.

This was announced by the Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, after the meeting with PM Pedro Sánchez. It also removed the obligation to wear masks in outdoor public spaces, as long as it is possible to maintain a distance of 1.5 metres from others.

The return of the fans to the stands comes as a huge relief for professional clubs, which have seen how the pandemic blew apart their income forecasts and placed them in a very delicate economic situation.

Without the money paid by spectators to watch the games, clubs had to take out the scissors to cut expenses but despite the enormous efforts undertaken - which in some cases led to significant salary reductions for athletes and coaches as well as Erte furloughing schemes when, in the darker months of the pandemic, competition was halted - most have had notable difficulties.

The impact was less in the more modest clubs, which owe a smaller percentage of their profits to lucrative television contracts, but clubs such as Real Madrid, Barcelona or Atlético saw how the money that entered the coffers was cut by up to 30 per cent.