MADRID — Football matches and other sports events in Spain will take place in empty venues at least until the end of the summer, the mayor of Madrid said Saturday.
José Luis Martínez-Almeida told the Onda Cero radio station that the coronavirus pandemic likely “won’t be under control” by then for events with big crowds to resume normally.
“In the spring and summer there won’t be any events with crowds in Spain, and possibly not in the fall either,” Martínez-Almeida said. “Because obviously the situation will not be fully under control. We will have to change our habits and behaviors even after being allowed to go back on to the streets.”
Spain has been one of the hardest-hit countries with more than 190,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, only behind the United States. More than 20,000 have died in the European nation.
The Spanish league is not expecting to resume at least until the end of May and president Javier Tebas has said he expects to play the first few games in empty stadiums.
“Football matches without fans in the summer is a possibility, as long as health and safety conditions are observed,” Martínez-Almeida said.
The football federation said this week that if the league can’t resume it will use the current standings to decide the four clubs to play in the Champions League, which would mean giving the spots to Barcelona, Real Madrid, Sevilla and Real Sociedad.
The league has said the total losses for not finishing the season because of the pandemic could reach nearly 1 billion euros. ($1.1 billion). The