Aussie Rules football welcomes back spectators
Thousands of spectators will be able to attend an Australian Rules football match this weekend as the competition resumes after its coronavirus shutdown, officials announced on Tuesday.
Saturday's match between fierce rivals Port Adelaide and Adelaide will be open to just over 2,000 AFL fans in the South Australian city - the biggest sports crowd in the country for months.
About 2,000 people will be permitted to sit in Adelaide Oval's general admission area, and another 240 in private rooms - well below the venue's capacity of 53,000 people, to meet social distancing requirements.
South Australian Premier Steven Marshall said numbers would increase "slowly and gradually" throughout the season to ensure fans' safety.
"Football and crowds are back in South Australia," he said.
"South Australia will be the first with a significant number of people at an AFL match and the first time we have had a significant crowd at any sport in Australia for months and months and months.
"I know sporting fans will be very grateful for that."
The announcement comes a day after New Zealand's Super Rugby Aotearoa announced that stadiums would be open to fans this weekend.
While many other sports competitions around the globe have announced plans to restart, the vast majority will be played either with no crowds or numbers severely restricted.
Some competitions have placed cardboard cutouts in seats to make the grounds appear less empty, and broadcasters have piped in canned crowd noises in a bid to create a big-match atmosphere. AFP
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