The Belarusian Premier League has seen a 60 per cent decrease in average attendance compared to last year as it marches on despite Covid-19 bringing professional football to a standstill globally.
A spokesperson for the Belarusian Football Federation told TheTicketingBusiness that the average attendance over the first two match days was 1,250 spectators, marking a 60 per cent fall.
In 2019, league champions Dinamo Brest welcomed an average attendance of 8,839 at its 10,060-capacity Regional Sport Complex Brestsky. For their one league game so far this season they attracted just 3,648.
The BFF also said measures had been put in place to protect spectators, such as employing medical workers to measure body temperatures at the entrance, spacing people out in the stadium and increasing the amount of sanitiser liquid at stadia.
Prior to Friday’s match between Torpedo Zhodino and Belshina, the home team published Covid-19 related rules for supporters before the game, advising those over 65 and anybody with fever or signs of respiratory illness to stay away.
The federation said it has no intention of postponing matches or cancelling the season, which began earlier this month.
The decision to continue playing has allowed the BFF to win broadcasting deals with sports networks in 10 countries, including Russia, Israel and India.
President Alexander Lukashenko has downplayed the need for social distancing, telling local television after a hockey game on Saturday: “It’s better to die standing than to live on your knees. There are no viruses here (at the rink)… I don’t see them.”
Belarus currently has a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all people entering Belarus from abroad regardless of citizenship.
Most football has already come to a halt, with UEFA, football’s European governing body, postponing the finals of its Champions League, Europa League and Women’s Champions League competitions, which had been scheduled for May. The governing body has also postponed Euro 2020, while other major football leagues around the world have been suspended.