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Fans and squad members tried to follow the rules at the French Cup final at the Stade de France

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France keeps sports stadiums cap at 5,000, with local exceptions

PARIS, France, Jul 28The French government, the first in Europe’s leading football nations to allow spectators back into grounds, said on Tuesday that the attendance cap would stay at 5,000 until the end of August, but local officials would be able to grant exemptions.

Local authorities would be granted flexibility “according to the seating capacity of the arena, analysis of the general and local health situation and subject to the strict implementation of health protocols,” said the sports ministry.

The ceiling of 5,000 was set when the coronavirus state of emergency in mainland France ended on July 11, but the final of the French Cup between Paris Saint-Germain and Saint-Etienne at the Stade de France took place on Friday in front of 2,800 spectators.

Clubs were hoping the limit would be further relaxed to increase revenue but the government has decided “the increase in the spread of the coronavirus in the country” rules that out.

Local government will have the power to authorise matches with more than 5,000 spectators, although spectators will be required to wear marks, stay seated, be in groups of no more than 10 and remain separated from other groups by one seat.

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