June 20, 2020 / 9:46 AM / 16 days ago

French stadiums to allow fans in from July 11 - government

PARIS (Reuters) - Stadiums in France will re-open to fans on July 11 as the country continues to lift measures imposed to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, the government said on Saturday.

A maximum of 5,000 fans, however, will be allowed in the arenas - a restriction that could be eased later in the summer with the new season due to start on the weekend of Aug. 22.

The French Cup and League Cup finals could now be played with spectators and fans will also be able to watch their teams play pre-season friendlies.

“A further review of the national epidemiological situation will be carried out in mid-July to decide whether a loosening is possible for the second half of August,” the government said.

“Subject to a new assessment of the epidemiological situation, the start of the new school year may be marked by further easing of the restrictions.”

The French Ligue 1 2019-20 season was officially ended on April 30 with Paris St Germain crowned champions.

It was the only one of the five biggest domestic soccer leagues in Europe to call off the season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

England’s Premier League, Spain’s La Liga and the German Bundesliga all resumed this month, and Italy’s Serie A is due to restart later on Saturday.

Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ed Osmond

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