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Dutch to allow 5,000 fans to attend Latvia game

AMSTERDAM: The Netherlands will allow 5,000 spectators who have tested negative for COVID-19 to attend their 2022 World Cup qualifier against Latvia this month as part of a study that could help get fans back into games quicker, the Dutch FA (KNVB) said.

Spectators at the Johan Cruijff Arena on March 27 will be divided into different sections, where some must wear face masks but others will be allowed to go without them and be able to sing and shout encouragement to the team.

The experiment, which is being run in collaboration with the Dutch government, will look at how many contact situations there are between people at the event.

"This is a good experiment with which we can show that it is possible that we can soon get people in the stadium again," said Gijs de Jong, secretary general of the KNVB, in a statement on Wednesday.

He added that spectators would have to show they had tested negative for the virus before being allowed into the stadium.

"If they are negative, they can show that with an app at the stadium and they can enter them in combination with their match ticket. This is a way it could also work with the clubs (in the Dutch league) and the European Championship," added De Jong.

Amsterdam is hosting several matches in the European Championship in June.

Similar studies were made at two games in the Dutch second division with around 1,300 spectators attending last month.

Fans were divided into six sections, all with differing levels of contact and rules around the prevention of the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Fieldlabs, who are running the experiment, said one spectator at the match in Nijmegen was found to be infected but after the game in Almere there were no reports of infection.

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

Source: Reuters

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