Belgian fans allowed to trickle back to football

Belgian fans allowed to trickle back to football

Brussels (AFP) – Belgium has some of the toughest coronavirus restrictions in Europe but this weekend will allow fans into grounds in the domestic leagues for the first time in six months.

On Friday, top-flight Eupen will welcome not only Pro League rivals Ghent to the Kehrwegstadion, but also a limited number of supporters.

The league and clubs have agreed sanitary and social distancing rules on a club-by-club basis. Eupen for example, will have 1,600 tickets for 8,300 places.

Other matches over the weekend will allow larger but still limited crowds, including those played by bigger sides like FC Bruges and Anderlecht.

Anderlecht’s ground, temporarily modified in agreement with local authorities, will hold only a third of its normal 19,000 capacity.

Belgium has experienced one of the most intense outbreaks of the coronavirus during the pandemic, with around 10,000 dead among only 11.5 million people.

But, along with France, it is among the first to reopen stadiums – while teams in Italy, England, Spain and Germany still play to empty stands.