The limit of 5,000 people in a stadium should remain in force, but could be changed by the prefects

The friendly match between PSG and Waasland-Beveren, on July 17 at the Parc des Princes (7-0), was one of the first football matches to be played with a maximum of 5,000 spectators.

Team sports fans will have to take their troubles patiently. Finally, those who used to attend competitions as close as possible to the fields, in the stands. There should certainly be, in the coming weeks, a little more flexibility possible on the number of spectators allowed to enter the sports arenas. But it is not yet tomorrow that they will be able to rush en masse into the stadiums or theaters to push their teams, as before the crisis caused by the Covid-19.

The maximum level of 5,000 spectators, which the government had instituted through a decree as of July 11 and which was applicable until August 31, should remain in force at least until that date, but it could be modulated to the increase by the prefects according to local situations (health situation, size of the enclosure).

This maintenance of the current framework with the possibility of one-off and localized dispensation reflects fears aroused by the health situation, with a persistent circulation of Covid-19 on the national territory. It was mentioned on Friday July 24 during a Defense Council, but it was not the subject of any communication at the end of it. It remains to be translated by the drafting of a new decree.

The option of a relative gauge

In recent weeks, the possibility of a reassessment (upward) of this gauge had been raised. With an option which was to set up a gauge relating to the capacity of the enclosure, and an agenda which was outlined: from mid-August, that is to say before the resumption of the championship de France de football (scheduled for the weekend of August 22-23).

The National Supporterism Authority has been inviting them since June. The Minister for Sports, Roxana Maracineanu was in favor. His cabinet had nevertheless insisted on the fact that it would ultimately be“An interministerial decision, taken according to the health situation. ”

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On July 17, the images of hundreds of Parisian supporters tight in the Parc des Princes without mask or regulatory distance, during the reception by PSG of the Belgians from Waasland-Beveren in a friendly (7-0), had somewhat cooled the enthusiasm .

Roxana Maracineanu, who had received the president of the Professional Football League (LFP) Nathalie Boy de la Tour and the General Manager of the French Football Federation (FFF) Florence Hardouin, had raised the threat of “Decisions behind closed doors (…) if the measures intended to combat the spread of the virus are not respected during the next matches”.

Without full stadiums, rugby considers itself in danger

The Parisian episode had also led the National Association of Professional Sports Leagues to denounce behaviors that make “Spot while the leaders of the various sports plead for an increase in the gauge of spectators in the sports grounds”.

It must be said that, for a certain number of team sports, not being able to play quickly in full stadiums risks posing serious financial problems: all those for whom the sales of tickets and the revenues associated with the presence of the public weigh heavily in the budget dreads this prospect. This is the case for rugby, but also for indoor sports (basketball, handball, volleyball)

The National Rugby League had also taken the lead in recent weeks by trying to sensitize the government to the fact that the economic model on which professional clubs are built does not accommodate a partial gauge, to the extent that approximately 60% of their income is linked to the presence of the public in the stadiums.

According to Le Figaro, unable to play in full stadiums, the presidents of the Rugby Top 14 could ask not to resume competition at the beginning of September, so as not to burden budgets a little more. They believe that playing games in partially full (or empty) venues would cost more than not playing.

Didier Lacroix, president of Stade Toulousain, reigning French champion, for example declared that if “To play in camera” stands for“A life expectancy of 40 days”, a gauge of 5,000 spectators “Would only offer a brief reprieve. “

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European football competitions remain behind closed doors

As far as it is concerned, football benefits from the windfall of television broadcasting rights, the weight of which is much more significant in club budgets than it is in other team sports. So the impact of still partially full stadiums promises to be less. However, it would not be neutral.

A study carried out by Premier League, the representative union of Ligue 1 clubs, with the assistance of the firm Ernst and Young estimates that if the number of spectators authorized in the stadiums remained at 5,000 until December 31, the loss of figure d Overall business for clubs would be around 951 million euros (including a drop in sponsorship and consumption).

For the 2019-2020 season, the study estimates at 605 million euros the income which “flew” for Ligue 1 clubs with the premature end of the championship. The loss of turnover for the whole football sector would have been 1.27 billion euros, the equivalent of four years of growth in turnover.

At the level of European football competitions, it is in any case the closed door that will continue to prevail. ” NOTe will play the matches without spectators until further notice ”, UEA President Aleksander Ceferin said on Tuesday July 21 on the website of the continental body. We will not take any risk.

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