French sports arenas to keep fans banned until January

Fans are not allowed to return to French arenas to watch sports matches before January, and then with strict audience limits depending on the size of the venue, the French presidency said on Tuesday.

Return of spectators “is not possible in December” given the recent rise in Covid-19 cases in France, which led to the government announcing a new partial suspension last month, President Emmanuel Macron told athletes in a conference call.

But he said youth clubs could resume in December if the number of new daily cases of coronavirus continues to decline, as long as reinforced measures are taken to avoid the risk of infection, especially indoors, his office said.

Macron also unveiled a € 100 million plan for next year to fund a “sports card” that encourages young people to take up sports activities, such as paying club fees or buying equipment.

The funds can prove to be a lifeline for especially amateur clubs that have been hammered by the health crisis.

Government officials have announced that they hope to facilitate lock-in from next month if the health crisis weakens, especially for hospitals dealing with an intensive care patient.