Brazil-Argentina match will have fans in stands

world cup qualifier brazil argentina
Brazil and Argentina last faced each other in July’s Copa America final. Photo: Lucas Figueiredo/CBF

Authorities in São Paulo state will allow fans to attend the football World Cup qualification match between Brazil and Argentina on September 5. Roughly 12,000 spectators will be allowed inside the 50,000-seater NeoQuímica Arena in São Paulo.

Two weeks ago, Governor João Doria announced that sports venues would only be able to welcome fans after November 1, confirming that Brazil v. Argentina would be played behind closed doors. Under pressure from executives of South American football confederation Conmebol and business organizations pushing for a quicker reopening process, Mr. Doria caved.

In an attempt to save face, his administration labeled the match a “test event” to observe the effects of allowing fans back inside sports arenas. Fans will have to present a negative PCR test taken up to 48 hours before the match, and will also be required to remain socially distanced and wear face coverings in the stadium. Authorities will monitor the attendees for 15 days after the match.

Last week, the city of Belo Horizonte allowed 17,000 fans to attend a Copa Libertadores match between Atlético Mineiro and Argentinian side River Plate. Fans created massive gatherings inside and outside the stadium, and local authorities decided to revoke stadiums’ authorization to host fans.