For the time being, Belgian baseball games will be played without fans in the stands. The Minister of Sports of Flanders, the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium, and the Belgian sporting sector have decided to ban all spectators from sports matches in an attempt to contain the new spread of the coronavirus.
The Belgian sporting sector doesn’t wait for the decision of the National Safety Council and had decided to ban spectators by itself.
According to the Flemish Minister of Sports, the sporting sector was wondering if games could continue with the coronavirus spreading again. With the decision by the Minister, all sporting clubs now have some proper guidelines they have to follow.
With all Baseball Gold Clubs situated in Flanders, these clubs are obliged to follow the rules by the Flemish Minister of Health. Clubs in Wallonia, the French-speaking part of Belgium, do not have to follow the guidelines of Flanders.
[EDIT] The National Security Council announced several stricter steps in an attempt to contain the virus but unlike the Flemish government not a word on banning fans from attending sports games. The number of attendees of outdoor events will be downscaled from 400 to 200 persons.
All Baseball Gold (the highest baseball league in Belgium) clubs but one are located in or around Antwerp, a corona outbreak hotspot.
After more than four months without any income from amenities, this decision will be another financial blow for the clubs.
The decision is for both professional and amateur sports. Baseball in Belgium belongs to the latter category.
As yours truly visited a baseball game in the Netherlands yesterday, one can only wonder how long it will take until similar measures will be taken in that country. The club in question sold a limited number of tickets but the fans did not really keep the required 1.5-meter distance.
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