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Spanish soccer fans unlikely to return in September - health minister
Reuters 600px 600px
  • 16 Jul 20
  • Soccer
  • 4
FILE PHOTO - Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - Atletico Madrid v Real Betis - Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain - July 11, 2020   General view inside the stadium during the warm up, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)   REUTERS/Javier Barbancho 691px 444px FILE PHOTO - Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - Atletico Madrid v Real Betis - Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain - July 11, 2020 General view inside the stadium during the warm up, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) REUTERS/Javier Barbancho

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain's health minister has expressed doubt about the prospect of spectators returning to soccer matches in September due to the threat of a resurgence in COVID-19 infections.

The government's department for sport and organising body La Liga had hoped to let fans back into stadiums at a reduced capacity when the new season starts in September, increasing to 50% in November before full capacity returned in January.

Yet a spike in infections since Spain lifted a national state of emergency in June has led some regions to impose localised lockdowns and limit activities, threatening the return to normality.

"To be honest, I don't see it, given the reality we are in," health minister Santiago Illa told radio station Cadena Ser on Thursday.

"We have seen some clusters of infections and although we have fortunately been able to control them, I still don't see (fans returning).

"We're going to take our time and provide information so the sports department can make the decision when necessary. We have to step carefully with the virus, and concentrating large numbers of people at this time is not advisable at all."

Illa also criticised large-scale celebrations in Vitoria to mark Baskonia winning the basketball championship and after Cadiz won promotion, urging Real Madrid fans to show restraint if they win the La Liga title on Thursday.

"I understand what it means to win a title or win promotion but the situation we have in Spain is of a controlled epidemic but with a virus that is still circulating," he added.

"In the last few days we've seen images that put people's health at risk. We are advising people to celebrate sporting triumphs at home and in no circumstances to go out to the streets and concentrate in large numbers."

(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Toby Davis)

2019 English PL Fixtures & Results

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2019/2020 Premier League
2019/2020 Bundesliga
2019/2020 Serie A
2019/2020 La Liga
2019/2020 UEFA Champions League
2019/2020 UEFA Europa League
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2018/2019 Ligue 1
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2019 English PL Standings

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  • Group
  • e
Pts P W D L GF GA +/- Pts
1 Liverpool LIV 99 38 32 3 3 85 33 +52 99
2 Manchester City MAC 81 38 26 3 9 102 35 +67 81
3 Manchester United MUN 66 38 18 12 8 66 36 +30 66
4 Chelsea CHE 66 38 20 6 12 69 54 +15 66
5 Leicester City LEI 62 38 18 8 12 67 41 +26 62
6 Tottenham Hotspur TOT 59 38 16 11 11 61 47 +14 59
7 Wolverhampton Wanderers WOL 59 38 15 14 9 51 40 +11 59
8 Arsenal ARS 56 38 14 14 10 56 48 +8 56
9 Sheffield United SHE 54 38 14 12 12 39 39 0 54
10 Burnley BUR 54 38 15 9 14 43 50 -7 54
11 Southampton SOU 52 38 15 7 16 51 60 -9 52
12 Everton EVE 49 38 13 10 15 44 56 -12 49
13 Newcastle United NEW 44 38 11 11 16 38 58 -20 44
14 Crystal Palace CRY 43 38 11 10 17 31 50 -19 43
15 Brighton & Hove Albion BRI 41 38 9 14 15 39 54 -15 41
16 West Ham United WES 39 38 10 9 19 49 62 -13 39
17 Aston Villa AST 35 38 9 8 21 41 67 -26 35
18 AFC Bournemouth BOU 34 38 9 7 22 40 65 -25 34
19 Watford WAT 34 38 8 10 20 36 64 -28 34
20 Norwich City NOR 21 38 5 6 27 26 75 -49 21
*e1 & e2 advances to R16, e3 possible R16
2019/2020 Premier League
2019/2020 Bundesliga
2019/2020 Serie A
2019/2020 La Liga
2019/2020 UEFA Champions League
2019/2020 UEFA Europa League
2019/2020 A-League
2018/2019 Ligue 1
2018/2019 Primeira Liga
2018 World Cup
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