The French football league has praised a decision to allow 7,000 fans in the stadium for a second division match between Auxerre and Clermont next weekend.
Because of coronavirus restrictions, a maximum of 5,000 spectators are allowed at the games, unless clubs get a special dispensation from their local authority.
Auxerre obtained a dispensation from the prefecture, making the Sept. 12 match the first one with more than 5,000 fans since the rule was put in place for this season.
France registered nearly 9,000 new coronavirus cases this past Friday, the highest daily figure since the pandemic swept into the country last March, the country's health agency said.
The total of 8,975 reported infections from Thursday, Sept. 3 to Friday, Sept. 4 came as authorities have increased testing capacities nationwide, but the caseload was still sharply above the 7,000 seen in recent days.
In addition, 53 new outbreak clusters were reported, and 46 patients were placed in intensive care, bringing the current total to 473.
As of Sept. 1, France has registered 30,661 coronavirus deaths, according to the Sante Publique France health agency, which warned again on Thursday of an "exponential" increase in new cases.
Regardless of the increasing case numbers in the country, "The French league salutes the decision,” the LFP said in a statement Saturday, adding that it hopes other clubs can follow suit.
Spectators still have to wear masks inside the stadium and observe social distancing.
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