Spanish league not ruling out fans in stadiums this season

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Workers walk into Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Monday, May 25, 2020. Spanish league clubs are now allowed to train with groups of up to 14 players as the league stays on track to restart in less than three weeks. (AP Photo/Paul White)

MADRID – The Spanish league is not ruling out the return of fans to stadiums this season.

League president Javier Tebas said Sunday he is in favor of having fans back as soon as regions are cleared by health authorities, contradicting an earlier message by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez who said it wouldn’t be fair for some clubs to have fans and others not.

“Fans should be back as soon as they are allowed to be back,” Tebas said in his weekly interview with league broadcaster Movistar, adding that he doesn’t think it's a problem that only some teams would likely benefit.

Spain has been gradually lifting confinement restrictions because of the coronavirus pandemic, with some regions entering advanced stages that could allow them to have matches with at least some fans in the stadiums.

Second-division club Las Palmas had wanted to host its match next weekend with fans at its base on the Canary Islands, which has made more progress than other areas controlling the outbreak. Madrid and Barcelona are among the regions lagging behind.

Until recently, Tebas and the government were not considering having fans back in any of the stadiums until next season.

Tebas said no player or team member has tested positive for COVID-19 recently. He said it’s important for everyone to be extra cautious now that the confinement restrictions are being lifted across Spain, which was one of the hardest-hit countries by the pandemic but recently has appeared able to control the outbreak.

The league is expected to oversee all of the clubs’ trips for matches to minimize the risk of infections.