Rapid covid spike forces Belgians to close doors on fans at top tier matches

October 23 – Belgium has become the latest country to ban fans from attending live football matches after a huge spike in coronavirus infections. 

On Thursday, local authorities convened and decided that football matches at the elite level will be played behind closed doors again. The ban will have immediate effect, meaning that Kortrijk – Anderlecht on Friday and the rest of this weekend’s fixtures list will have to be completed without any fans in the stands.

Belgium is facing a second wave of the coronavirus, registering more than 10,000 cases a day on average. The dramatic increase in numbers have prompted the government to implement new health restrictions in a bid to try and contain the coronavirus and alleviate pressure on hospitals.

In August, Belgium’s new domestic season kicked off without any fans, but after the Pro League and clubs drew up strict health protocols and the coronavirus numbers stabilised supporters were allowed to attend matches again.

The new ban will also affect European fixtures. Next week, Club Brugge host Lazio in the Champions League. In the Europa League, Antwerp welcome Tottenham Hotspur and AA Gent meet Hoffenheim.

Several clubs have also been hit by the virus, leading to the postponement of Charleroi – Waasland-Beveren this weekend.  Cercle Brugge – Mouscron and Eupen – KV Mechelen are also under review. Beveren has 17 infected players, Mouscron 16 and KV Mechelen 11.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1606270611labto1606270611ofdlr1606270611owedi1606270611sni@o1606270611fni1606270611