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Belgian football season to start behind closed doors

The 2020-21 Belgian football season will begin behind closed doors following new measures announced by the government to stem a flare-up in coronavirus cases, the Pro League said on Tuesday.

The league’s board of directors said in a statement the decision was taken to “ensure uniformity in the organisation of matches, to give the public clarity… and to guarantee the health of all in and around the world of football.”

League officials also called on supporters to stay home to watch matches and to avoid gathering in large groups in order to avoid disruption to the new season, which is scheduled to start on August 8.

Saturday’s Belgian Cup final between Club Brugge and Antwerp in Brussels will mark the resumption of football in the country after the 2019-20 season was abandoned in May. Brugge were declared champions with 11 rounds of matches left unplayed.

Belgium announced new rules on Monday as it tries to curb a “worrying” upsurge in COVID-19 cases. From Wednesday, Belgians will be allowed to see a maximum of five people outside of their families, reducing the permitted “social bubble” from 15.

“Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pro League has been working in close consultation with the authorities and all concerned parties in order to cope with the situation in a safe and responsible manner,” the league said.

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