Fans to return for Flamengo-Defensa Copa Libertadores match

BRASILIA, July 15 (Xinhua) — Up to 18,000 fans will be permitted to attend the second leg of the Copa Libertadores round of 16 clash between Flamengo and Defensa y Justicia, the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) said on Thursday.

The match will be played at the Mane Garrincha stadium in Brasilia on Wednesday, July 21 after Flamengo requested it be shifted from Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana stadium. Flamengo won the tie’s first leg 1-0 in Argentina on Wednesday.

“CONMEBOL’s club competition committee informs that the game between Flamengo and Defensa y Justicia … has had a change of venue,” the entity said in a brief statement.

The announcement came after officials in the Brazilian capital said stadiums could reopen at 25 percent capacity under strict sanitary protocols.

Earlier this week, CONMEBOL announced that supporters were free to attend matches in its continental tournaments, pending approval from local authorities.

Fans have mostly been banned from football stadiums in Brazil since March last year when the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic.

Exceptions were made for the Copa Libertadores final in January and last weekend’s Copa America final. On both occasions, the 78,000-seat Maracana stadium was opened at around 10 percent capacity.

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