July 16, 2020 / 7:16 PM / 23 days ago

Italy sports minister hopes fans can return to stadiums in September

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Serie A - Juventus v Udinese - Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy - March 8, 2019 General view before the match REUTERS/Massimo Pinca/File Photo

ROME (Reuters) - Italy’s sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora hopes that some fans can be allowed back into the country’s soccer stadiums in September, but not before, he said on Thursday.

Spadafora told the Senate that authorities still had to work out how to manage the flow in and out of stadiums while respecting social distancing.

The top two divisions of the Italian league, Serie A and B, re-started in June and all matches have been played without spectators due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The season is due to finish in early August and there had been some hope that fans could be allowed back before then.

“For the reopening of the stadiums we believe we must continue along the cautious line that has been followed so far,” said Spadafora.

“We are working hard with the federation and the league so that in September, at the start of the new season, there is a way to reopen the stadiums to the public.”

Spadafora said that while stadiums could accommodate several thousands fans comfortably, there were still risks associated with managing the flow.

“The danger would be to allow 10,000 or 12,000 spectators to enter in the same place,” he said. “It would be necessary to understand how to manage this flow.”

Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Ken Ferris

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