Barcelona allowed to fill Camp Nou as key games loom

AFP , Tuesday 12 Oct 2021

Barcelona can fill their Camp Nou stadium to capacity for key Champions League and La Liga matches next week, after Catalonia authorities on Tuesday eased Covid crowd limits

, a general view of the the Camp Nou stadium as the sun sets ahead of the Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Valladolid CF in Barcelona, Spain. AP

"As of Friday, the vast majority of capacity limitations will cease," regional president Pere Aragones told a press conference on Tuesday.

"We will return to 100 percent capacity in cultural spaces, outdoor sports facilities and in bars and restaurants," Aragones said.

The limit had been 60 percent of capacity.

"Camp Nou back to full capacity," said the Barcelona club website.

"After a year and half with no games, then games in an empty stadium, then games with severe restrictions, the time has finally come when the Barca stadium can fill to capacity once again!" it said.

The decision is timely for struggling Barcelona, who have three games coming up in eight days at the 99,000-capacity Nou Camp.

The first game in a full Nou Camp will be on Sunday against Valencia who are above ninth-place Barcelona on goal difference in La Liga.

Next Wednesday, Barca host Dynamo Kiev in a key Champions League game. Barcelona are bottom of their group without a point after two rounds.

On October 24, Liga leaders Real Madrid visit for the first Clasico of the season.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta had lobbied for the restrictions to be lifted.

"I would be grateful if they would give it another try because it is very damaging to us economically," he said on September 29, after the Spanish central government removed its restrictions on stadium attendance but Catalonia and the Basque Country kept their limits.

The measure comes at a time when Covid-19 cases in Spain have dropped to their lowest level since July 2020.

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