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FOOTBALL

Spain-Portugal football friendly to welcome 20,000 fans to the stands

Around 20,500 fans will be allowed to attend Spain's friendly against Portugal on June 4 with restrictions in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus, local officials said Tuesday.

Spain-Portugal football friendly to welcome 20,000 fans to the stands
Spain fans at a training session in 2018. Photo: Lluis Gené/AFP

Capacity at Atletico Madrid’s 68,000-seat Wanda Metropolitano stadium will be limited to around 30 percent and fans will have to wear face masks, the health department of the regional government of Madrid said in a statement.

Fans will not be allowed to smoke, eat or drink in the stands and will have different times set to enter the stadium to avoid crowds, it added.

The match will be one of the first major professional sports events to be held in the Spanish capital with a live audience since the start of the
pandemic.

Spain has been hit hard by Covid-19, recording nearly 80,000 deaths from around 3.6 million cases, and Madrid is the region with the most fatalities.

But infections and deaths have been declining as the country’s vaccination programme speeds up and the government has started to relax virus restrictions.

Earlier this month the government gave football clubs the green light for fans to return to matches for the final two rounds of fixtures this season in regions with low levels of infection.

The game will serve as a warm-up for the delayed Euro 2020, which gets underway on June 11th.

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SPORT

Spain thrown out of 2023 Rugby World Cup

Spain have been thrown out of the 2023 Rugby World Cup for fielding an ineligible South African-born player during the qualifying stages and will be replaced by Romania, World Rugby announced on Thursday.

Spain thrown out of 2023 Rugby World Cup

“Subject to Spain’s right of appeal, the 10-point deduction applied to the Rugby World Cup 2023 qualification table means that Romania will qualify as Europe 2 into Pool B replacing Spain,” read the statement.

Portugal — who Spain beat to seal their place in the global showpiece in France next year — replace Romania in the Final Qualification Tournament taking place in November 2022.

“Spain has a right of appeal within 14 days of the date of the full written decision of the committee,” read the statement.

According to Spanish media in March, the player under investigation was South African-born prop Gavin van den Berg, who has been playing in Spain since 2018.

He played twice against the Netherlands, in 2020 and 2021, in qualifiers, but he may not seemingly have served the three years of residency needed to become eligible under World Rugby rules.

Spain, Romania and Belgium were all sanctioned in 2018 for having fielded ineligible players, opening the way for Russia to qualify for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

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