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Fans are back at football stadiums, but it’s not the same as before

Posted: Monday, February 7, 2022. 9:44 am CST.

Photo Credit: Altitude FC

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: The Michael Ashcroft Stadium in Mango Creek/Independence was the first stadium to host fans for the FFB Top League Closing Championship after a two-year freeze due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While many countries, like the United States, have their sports teams playing in front of packed stadiums for a while now, Belize is just venturing into tentatively getting its feet wet in this regard.

“It was our first game back at home with our fans. And although it might not be what we’re use to, we are thankful for those that came to support us! Thank you! WE ARE ALTITUDE!” said southern club Altitude FC that Saturday night beat Garden City 2-0 at home in the championship opener.

The Mango Creek fans are among the most boisterous in the country and though those present cheered on their teams, it’s not the same as before the pandemic. Only 500 fans were allowed at the Michael Ashcroft and at the FFB Stadium in Belmopan which featured the other two games of the opening weekend in which San Pedro edged Caesar Ridge 1-0 and Verdes romped over Wagiya 5-0.

Additionally, because of the COVID-19 pandemic fans had to buy tickets ahead of time, they had to present the vaccinations cards along with an identification card at the entrance. They were also obligated to wear masks throughout and had to be spaced out during the game (though both are difficult to control).

For now, all fans must be seated as no standing is allowed, fans are not allowed to interact with players which happened before after games, no one is allowed re-entry. Backpacks or large bags are not allowed.

Plus, no food or drinks are being sold at the stadiums.

“Although the current guidelines and protocols brought upon by the pandemic leave much to be desired, we are grateful for the opportunity to be back at home and grateful for you, our amazing fans who keep the fire burning,” said Altitude in their pre-game official statement.

Should more Belizeans get vaccinated and push up the percentage past 70, as recommended by the World Health Organization, we might have more lifting of restrictions. Let’s hope that happens soon because right now we’re still not out of the woods yet.

But as Altitude say, let’s be thankful and work on getting there.

For now, Altitude would do great with the women’s ‘Bucket Brigade’ that used to go all out in support of good old Sagitun.


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