June 14, 2020 / 3:11 AM / 2 months ago

Behind closed doors proves no obstacle to selfie-seeking Messi fan

Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - RCD Mallorca v FC Barcelona - Iberostar Stadium, Palma, Spain - June 13, 2020 A fan invades the pitch during the match, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) REUTERS/Albert Gea

MALLORCA (Reuters) - No spectators are allowed at La Liga games to curb the spread of the new coronavirus, but the restrictions could not dissuade one Lionel Messi fan from sneaking in to Barcelona’s match away to Real Mallorca on Saturday.

Clad in an Argentina shirt and holding his phone, the fan calmly walked on to the pitch early in the second half of the game and defied the league’s social distancing regulations by approaching Barca defender Jordi Alba before heading towards Messi.

The intruder was tackled by security guards before he could make any contact with the six-times world player of the year, however, while two police officers also helped remove him from the pitch.

La Liga leaders Barcelona won the match, their first since the season resumed after a three-month break, 4-0.

Mallorca did not immediately respond to a request for comment on how the fan was able to access the stadium.

The breach of security was all the more surprising in view of the fact that only 229 people are allowed to enter stadiums for matches from now until the end of the season under the league’s latest protocol on resuming the campaign.

The protocol also includes strict guidelines on how teams enter and leave stadiums for matches and obliges players to wear masks and gloves on the way from their team hotel to the ground as well as in the dressing room, among other rules.

Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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