Italy is temporarily closing football stadiums to fans once more amid ongoing concern over new coronavirus cases. It comes just a few weeks after the government had opted to allow a limited number of spectators into sporting venues to watch games.
Serie A games and other sporting activities in outdoor venues will continue to go ahead under revised rules, but the stadiums will now be closed to fans.
A government ruling in September permitted up to 1,000 fans to attend Serie A games as of the opening weekend of the season and supporters had started to return in the weeks since as clubs got the necessary safety measures in place.
There were murmurings that regional and national officials were hoping to further open stadiums to anywhere between a quarter and a third of full capacity. But that hasn’t been possible.
AP has reported that 20,000 new coronavirus cases over a two-day period on Friday and Saturday led to a complete U-turn, whereby a government decree now in effect has closed stadiums to all fans in Italy for at least a month to try and curb the spread.
Elsewhere in Europe, football fans returning to stadiums in Spain has been put on the backburner once more after the country declared a new national state of emergency over the weekend.
Germany has allowed fans in football stadiums since the opening weekend of the Bundesliga season, with up to 20% of capacity permitted at each venue. There have, however, been individual restrictions and caveats depending on the specifics of regions and cities.
In England, fans have remained absent from seats since March. It was the intention to gradually re-open venues to limited numbers of fans from the start of October, but rising numbers of cases saw plans put on hold. There will be a formal parliamentary debate on the matter on 9 November.