No more face mask obligation, fans return to professional football

Sarhan Basem

BRUSSELS (Brussels Morning) – Going about exactly as was expected, wearing a face mask will no longer be mandatory from next weekend at football matches in the Jupiler Pro League and 1B Pro League, the Pro League confirmed on Thursday. Fans who are away are also welcome from then on.

All this is the result of the corona barometer, which will no longer be red from Friday, but will jump to orange. “Welcome back, fans. Welcome back along the Belgian fields. Welcome back to your favorite club from the Pro League. This weekend fans can return to the stadiums. Away and at home. Without face masks, with a fresh pint of beer and above all with a lot of enthusiasm“ the statement reads.

“Football without fans. Football with limited fans. Football with face masks. Bubbles in the stands, but not in your beer glass. No warm hamburger after the game. No away fans. Football has not been the same lately. But that’s over.”

“We welcome you back en masse to the Belgian football stadiums. As a home supporter and as an away supporter. To experience that typical football atmosphere again and experience beautiful moments together. To celebrate the victories and process the defeats together. Euphoric or disappointed, but always respectful.”

‘Football Ambassadors’

However, the Pro League calls on the fans to show themselves “as ambassadors for football”. “The football community is so diverse, yet also so united. We all share a passion for the most beautiful sport in the world,” it says.

“From this weekend on, let us all be ambassadors for football and show ourselves from our best side. With respect for each other, for the opponents, for the referees. Passionate but positive.”

Belgium eased coronavirus restrictions further on Friday last week, allowing nightclubs to reopen and removing the requirement that primary school students wear masks, as instances of the Omicron variant decreased from a high at the end of January.

“The successive waves have not been easy for us,” Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said at a press conference, alluding to the Omicron and Delta variant surges that occurred back-to-back. “However, we overcame them, and we overcame them together.”

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Brussels Morning is a daily online newspaper based in Belgium. BM publishes unique and independent coverage on international and European affairs. With a Europe-wide perspective, BM covers policies and politics of the EU, significant Member State developments, and looks at the international agenda with a European perspective.
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Sarhan Basem is Brussels Morning's Senior Correspondent to the European Parliament. With a Bachelor's degree in English Literature, Sarhan brings a unique blend of linguistic finesse and analytical prowess to his reporting. Specializing in foreign affairs, human rights, civil liberties, and security issues, he delves deep into the intricacies of global politics to provide insightful commentary and in-depth coverage. Beyond the world of journalism, Sarhan is an avid traveler, exploring new cultures and cuisines, and enjoys unwinding with a good book or indulging in outdoor adventures whenever possible.