Spanish sports grounds to return to full capacity as Covid restrictions lifted

Spanish sports grounds will be able to return to 100 percent capacity for the first time since the pandemic next month, health chiefs said Wednesday.

capacity stadiums spain
Despite Spain's outdoor face masks being relaxed, fans will still have to wear them at all time in sports grounds. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

“From the weekend of March 4, sporting events, both outdoors and indoors, will see their capacities raised to 100 percent, given the satisfactory evolution of all the epidemiological indicators,” said health minister Carolina Darias.

However, she warned that wearing masks will remain compulsory and that it will still be forbidden to smoke, drink or eat during sporting events.

Spain’s outdoor face mask rule was lifted last week, with some exceptions. 

READ MORE: When do you still have to wear a mask outdoors in Spain?

At the end of December, Spanish authorities reduced crowd limits to 75 percent and 50 percent indoors to combat rising cases of Covid-19.

There have been more than 10 million cases of the virus recorded in Spain with 97,000 deaths.

Levels have dropped to 1,060 cases per 100,000 people over the last 14 days against 3,418 on January 21.

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Spain miss out on Rugby World Cup after appeal rejected

Spain will not figure at next year's Rugby World Cup in France after their appeal against disqualification for fielding an ineligible player during qualifying was rejected, World Rugby announced on Monday.

Spain miss out on Rugby World Cup after appeal rejected

After examining new evidence brought by the Spanish federation, an independent appeal committee “dismissed the appeal”, World Rugby said in a statement.

“In accordance with World Rugby rules, the decision of the independent appeal committee is final and cannot be appealed again,” it added.

The ruling confirmed that Romania will take Spain’s place at next year’s tournament while Portugal — the team Spain beat to seal their place at France 2023 — have taken the spot vacated by Romania in the final qualification event taking place in November.

South African-born prop Gavin van den Berg, who has been playing in Spain since 2018, featured in two qualifiers against the Netherlands in 2020 and 2021 but was deemed not to have served the three years of residency needed to become eligible under World Rugby rules.

It is the second time that Spain have missed out on World Cup qualification on these grounds.

In 2018, along with Romania and Belgium, they were were sanctioned for fielding ineligible players, paving the way for Russia to qualify for the 2019 World Cup in Japan.