Australia to allow 10,000 spectators at small stadiums
Rules would allow stadiums with capacities of up to 40,000 host up to 10,000 spectators
AFL games are currently being held with no spectators due to the coronavirus outbreak. Photograph: EPA
Australia will allow crowds of up to 10,000 at small stadiums to watch sport as part of plans to ease social distancing restrictions in July, the country’s prime minister Scott Morrison said on Friday.
Morrison said Australia’s states were working toward rules which would let stadiums with capacities of up to 40,000 host up to 10,000 spectators.
He said the changes could also apply for concerts and festivals.
“It would have to be a large, open area. There would need to be seats at the appropriate distance,” he told reporters after a national cabinet meeting.
“It would need to be ticketed, so people would be able to understand who was in attendance at that event.”
Limits on mass gatherings are still in place in Australia and vary between states and territories. Australia has recorded more than 7,000 coronavirus infections and 102 deaths.
Australia’s two biggest professional winter sports, the National Rugby League (NRL) and Australian Football League (AFL), resumed their seasons with matches at closed stadiums but have been given the green light to allow small groups of fans to attend venues.
The NRL is allowing fans at corporate boxes on game-day, while South Australia state authorities approved a crowd of 2,000 in the terraces for the AFL match between the Adelaide Crows and Port Power at Adelaide Oval on Saturday.
Neighbouring New Zealand is expecting bumper crowds at stadiums this weekend to watch the first matches of “Super Rugby Aotearoa”, the world’s first professional rugby competition to resume since the coronavirus shutdown.