CROWDS will be allowed back into football and basketball stadiums in Valencia and the Balearic Islands from this weekend.

The gradual scaling down of anti-COVID restrictions by the Spanish government authorises a maximum of 5,000 spectators – up to 30% of the total capacity – in areas with low infection figures.

And this week, the only regions to qualify are Valencia, the Balearic Islands, and Galicia in northern Spain.

The rest of the country will have to wait another week or even until the beginning of next season.

In the Valencia region, lucky Valencia CF fans will be able to watch their side against Eibar at Mestalla on Sunday May 16, while in Castellon, Villareal welcomes Sevilla in what promises to be a celebratory event for fans of the ‘Yellow Submarine’ after making it through to their first ever Europa League final last week.

With just two games to go in the La Liga First Division this season, it hardly seems worth the effort. However, the Second Division still has four games remaining, plus the qualifying rounds for teams going up into the First Division.

With regards to basketball, the play-off for the league title is still pending, with fans eager to catch the action live.

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Spanish Minister for Cuture and Sports, Jose Manuel Rodriguez Uribes, announced that the precautionary measures will be analysed and updated each week, according to COVID statistics in each part of the country.

Uribes also explained that all eyes are now on the upcoming UEFA European Championship, when hopefully up to 16,000 fans will be able to watch the Spanish national squad face Sweden in Sevilla on June 14.

The Minister for Health, Carolina Darias, outlined the sanitary protocols to follow. Only home fans will be allowed, social distancing must be maintained at all times, and the entrance and exit must be organised in a gradual manner to prevent crowding.

In addition, eating and smoking will be forbidden in the stands, temperatures will be taken at the gate, and FFP2 masks without valves must be worn at all times.   

The decision on how to allocate available tickets will fall to each club.

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