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Spain sets new capacity limits for sport stadiums as Covid cases surge

Spain on Wednesday imposed stricter capacity limits on sporting venues as the highly contagious Omicron variant drives record-high coronavirus cases, affecting top football clubs including Real Madrid and Barcelona.

capacity stadiums spain covid
Villareal and Espanyol players observe a minute of silence for the COVID-19 victims before a match last August. Photo: LLUIS GENE / AFP

Outdoor stadiums, which previously had no spectator limits, can now use up to 75 percent of their total capacity, Health Minister Carolina Darias told a press conference.

Indoor venues can use 50 percent of their capacity instead of 80 percent and wearing face masks will be compulsory, she added.

The decision comes after La Liga giants Real Madrid and Barcelona on Wednesday said more of their players tested positive as Spain reported a record-high daily Covid case total of 100,760.

Real Madrid’s Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, Uruguay midfielder Federico Valverde, French midfielder Eduardo Camavinga and Brazilian winger Vinicius Junior are all infected.

Barcelona said forward Ousmane Dembele, defender Samuel Umtiti and midfielder Gavi tested positive, with defenders Jordi Alba, Dani Alves and Clement Lenglet also contracting the virus this week.

Covid outbreaks have also affected Real Sociedad, Mallorca and Cádiz.

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SPORT

European football giants cancel Israel pre-season match over security

Italian footballing giants Juventus were set to square off against Spanish side Atlético Madrid in Tel Aviv this weekend but the match was postponed amid renewed hostilities in the region.

European football giants cancel Israel pre-season match over security

A pre-season friendly match between Spanish side Atlético Madrid and Italian giants Juventus which was scheduled to take place in Israel this weekend has been cancelled because of “security” concerns, the two teams announced on Saturday.

The match was due to take place at the Bloomfield stadium in Tel Aviv on Sunday but a renewed surge in hostilities in the region prompted the promoters Comtec Group to call it off.

“Due to the latest developments, the friendly between Atletico Madrid and Juventus, scheduled in Israel, has been cancelled,” said Juventus in a statement.

“Due to the current security situation, Comtec Group announces that the match between Atletico Madrid and Juventus, scheduled for tomorrow, Sunday 7 August at Bloomfield Stadium, will not be played.”

Israel hit Gaza with air strikes on Saturday and a Palestinian militant group retaliated with a barrage of rocket fire, in the territory’s worst escalation of violence since last year.

Juventus start their Serie A campaign with a home tie against Sassuolo on August 15 while Diego Simeone’s Atletico play their La Liga opener against Getafe the same day.

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