The health minister of Spain expressed his doubt about the chances of fans returning to the football matches in September due to the fear of a resurgence of coronavirus or COVID-19 infections.

The government's department for sport and organizing body La Liga had the hopes of letting the spectators back inside the grounds at a reduced number when the new season begins in September, increasing to 50 percent in November ahead of the full capacity return in January.

Yet a spike in infections since Spain lifted a national state of emergency in June has led some regions to impose localized lockdowns and limit activities, threatening the return to normality. "To be honest, I don't see it, given the reality we are in," health minister Santiago Illa told radio station Cadena Ser on Thursday.

Spectators Not to Return in September

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"We have seen some clusters of infections and although we have fortunately been able to control them, I still don't see (fans returning). "We're going to take our time and provide information so the sports department can make the decision when necessary. We have to step carefully with the virus, and concentrating large numbers of people at this time is not advisable at all."

Illa also criticized large-scale celebrations in Vitoria to mark Baskonia winning the basketball championship and after Cadiz won promotion, urging Real Madrid fans to show restraint if they win the La Liga title on Thursday. "I understand what it means to win a title or win promotion but the situation we have in Spain is of a controlled epidemic but with a virus that is still circulating," he added.

"In the last few days we've seen images that put people's health at risk. We are advising people to celebrate sporting triumphs at home and in no circumstances to go out to the streets and concentrate in large numbers."

(With agency inputs)