Soccer-Bilbao prepared to host Euro 2020 games at 25% capacity

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MADRID (Reuters) -Bilbao's city hall has told organisers UEFA it is ready to stage Euro 2020 games at the San Mames stadium at 25% capacity if COVID-19 infection rates drop below current levels.

A statement from the city hall on Wednesday said the Spanish soccer federation was due to send its plans for the rescheduled tournament to the organising body later in the day and had committed to 25% capacity of the ground.

The move means around 13,000 supporters could attend the matches as long as infection rates, hospital occupancy and intensive care unit occupancy levels are below the minimum requirements set out by the local health authority.

Spain are due to play all three of their group stage matches at the 53,000-capacity San Mames, which is also set to host a last-16 match.

Bilbao's plans still need to be approved by UEFA, who will make a final decision on the venues at a congress on April 20.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has said games will not be played behind closed doors at the tournament and all host cities must guarantee fan presence.

Their criteria could harm Bilbao's hopes of hosting its matches, as current rates must drop sharply in the Basque Country and Spain for the health authority to approve the presence supporters.

Opening the stadium at 25% capacity depends on transmission rates falling to below 40 cases per 100,000 regionally and nationally. Regional hospital occupancy must be at below 8%, while national population immunity must be at least 60%.

As of Wednesday, the incidence stood at 351 cases per 100,000 in the region, 161 nationally.

Last Saturday, police clashed with Athletic Bilbao supporters near San Mames ahead of the Copa de Rey final after officers tried to prevent people from gathering in large numbers.

(Reporting by Richard MartinEditing by Christian Radnedge)

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