Covid-19 is likely to have a long lasting affect on football and supporters
Health specialists of marked two conditions for the return of fans to stadiums: the first is relatively general immunity across a population and the second is the development of a vaccine for Covid-19. For the moment, there's no time frame on when either will be checked off.
"We still don't know what percentage of the population is immune to the new coronavirus," warned Andrea Buron, an epidemiologist and the spokeswoman for the Spanish Association of Public Health and Health Administration (SESPAS).
STADIUM A THIRD FULL
The immunity factor would permit a possible return to stadiums for football fans, but with conditions.
"It would have to be done gradually," Buron explained. "We can't go from one to 100 and it's likely that the option of opening the stadiums at first would only be with a third of the capacity, for example.
"And with new structures in place to maintain social distancing and security, such as leaving space between supporters. In the case of theatre and cinemas, maybe we would have to change the times, something which is more complicated in football."
It could be the case, then, that Barça play at Camp Nou with a limited capacity and with fans separated. It's a complicated scenario and brings many questions. What season ticket holders could go to the stadium? And in what conditions? Will the club pay back those that can't attend?
And, above all, when? "That's the million-dollar question," admits Buron. "Because I think we are going to have to wait at least one year for a vaccine." To know the first results of the antibody tests we will have to wait until the summer at least.
Some experts say that from November 2020, fans could return to Camp Nou. Others believe it won't be until 2021.
"The most likely is that between two extremes, the reality is somewhere in the middle," Buron continues. "What's clear is we have to think of alternatives and different scenarios. And return gradually."
LAST TO NORMALITY
What's clear is the big supporter events -- including football -- will be the last to return to normality. "We're in agreement on that," Buron says. "Because to put possible carriers of the virus in contact with thousands of receivers is a danger until we know how many people are immune."
Football benefits from being played in the open air but fans will not be back at Camp Nou until health authorities say so: it's likely that in 2020, going to the stadium to see Barça will be impossible."
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