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No fans at Chinese football over COVID-19 fears, weeks before Olympics

The Chinese Super League will be played behind closed doors because of the pandemic when it resumes after a four-month break.

Matches in China’s top flight restart on Sunday after a hiatus so that the national side could concentrate on World Cup qualifiers.

But after fans were permitted at some games earlier this year, they won’t be allowed “in order to protect the health of the public”, the CSL said in a statement.

It comes with the Beijing Winter Olympics less than two months away.

The CSL will determine at a later date whether games can be opened back up to the public, based on the Covid situation at the time.

Teams will square off in two cities—Suzhou and Guangzhou—with the championship decided early next month.

Tens of thousands of spectators were allowed to attend games earlier this year as China largely brought the pandemic under control.

But cases have been climbing in recent months and authorities have ramped up prevention measures in the run-up to the Olympics in February, fearing that a resurgence could mar the Games.

Olympic athletes will be required to enter a “closed loop” for the duration of the competitions and undergo daily testing.

No spectators from outside China will be allowed, with major Olympic venues operating at limited capacity.

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