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Las Palmas president wants spectators at Girona match

(Photo by Gabriel Jimenez/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

Miguel Angel Ramirez, the president of Spanish Segunda Division side Las Palmas, has suggested fans of the Canary Islands club should be allowed to watch its forthcoming match against Girona on June 13.

Angel Ramirez argued that the low rate of Covid-19 infections in the Canary Islands mean it would be safe for local fans to watch the match at the team’s Estadio Gran Canaria, but only at 30 per cent capacity.

Top-flight football has been on hold in Spain since March but the Segunda Division and top-flight La Liga have been given the green light to resume on 8 June as the country eases lockdown restrictions. But the Spanish health ministry and La Liga require that all matches are played without spectators.

Ramirez told UDRádio: “We will comply with all of the measures that that authorities ask of us and we can announce that Las Palmas fans will be able to attend the stadium to cheer on their team from 13 June against Girona.

“I have just been speaking to Ángel Víctor Torres [president of the Canary Islands government] and Antonio Morales [administrative council president], and due to our circumstances, we could be the only club in the top two divisions to play again with fans in the stands.”

The islands of El Hierro, La Gomera and La Graciosa in the Spanish archipelago have received clearance to move to phase three of the country’s lockdown restrictions, the most relaxed phase of de-escalation measures before returning to the ‘new normal’. It is thought larger islands such as Gran Canaria could also move to phase three of Spain’s de-escalation plan next week.

Ramirez argued that the phase three regulations would allow around 10,000 fans to watch the match at Las Palmas’ stadium, around 30 per cent of its capacity. LaLiga has not made any comment on his proposals.

Should spectators be allowed to attend the match, it will not be the first time this has happened in a European league since the beginning of the pandemic. The Belarusian top tier has continued to allow fans into matches throughout the health crisis, in spite of a rising death toll in the country and against the wishes of Fifpro, the world union for footballers.

Last weekend, Hungary’s top-level football championship also allowed spectators back into stadiums, following strict government-mandated social-distancing protocols which allowed for no more than one seat in four to be occupied. Hungary has registered relatively small numbers of deaths during the pandemic making it easier for the country to justify taking these measures.

In other Spanish news, Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez has written to club members revealing that the team will announce ‘different option’ to compensate them for the games they miss because of La Liga’s closed-door restrictions but appeared to encourage fans to forgo any reimbursements as an act of solidarity with the club.

He wrote: “Soccer is being hit hard, like most of society. During this time we have continued working to minimise, as much as possible, the great economic damages derived from the measures imposed to prevent the spread of the disease.

“In this process, I want to highlight the collective effort of players, coaches, executives and club employees who have given up part of their remuneration, to reduce the foreseeable economic loss. Along the same lines, I also want to thank the generosity of the members who have approached the club expressing their intention to renounce their rights derived from the interruption of competitions.”

Pérez also revealed the team will play the remainder of their matches this season at the Alfredo Di Stéfano Stadium in Valdebebas to allow for construction work on the club’s Santagio Bernabéu home.