Fans will be allowed to attend the 2021 World Men's Handball Championship in Egypt but the exact permitted capacity has not been decided yet, the country's Sports Minister Ashraf Sobhi said on Tuesday.
Speaking during a news conference to outline details of the expanded 32-team tournament, which will take place in January, Sobhi said the number of allowed attendees was still under discussion.
Even before the coronavirus crisis, most sports games were held behind closed doors due to security concerns. However, big events are always an exception, with supporters allowed to attend last year's football African Cup of Nations.
"We are discussing this matter at the meantime. Fans might attend the matches with a 100% capacity or with the percentage of 2 to 1, which means there will be an empty seat between each spectator,” Sobhi said.
The minister also said strict health measures will be applied due to the pandemic.
“Preventive measures will include thermal examination, wearing masks, avoiding crowding, social distancing, using hand sanitizers in addition to procedures for dealing with positive cases that may appear during the tournament through cooperation with the Ministry of Health,” Sobhi explained.
The tournament, which will be held from 13-31 January, will be staged in four handball courts -- Cairo International Stadium, 6th of October, Borg El-Arab and the New Administrative Capital.
Draw for the tournament will take place on 5 September at Cairo's National Museum of Egyptian Civilization.
"The 2021 World Handball Championship is the first edition to include 32 teams; the last edition was hosted by two countries and the next one will be hosted by 3 countries, the thing that put us in front of a new big challenge," Sobhi added.
“The secret behind our success in organizing the tournament will be the solidarity and cooperation of all state institutions, the Egyptian fans, the International Handball Federation and the Egyptian Handball Federation."
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