RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (AP) — Spectators will be allowed inside cricket stadiums in Pakistan this month for the first time in the coronavirus pandemic.

The Pakistan Cricket Board said on Thursday it received permission from the government to allow 20% capacity crowds at Pakistan Super League games.

“The decision means around 7,500 ticketed spectators will be allowed access inside the National Stadium (in Karachi) per match day, while around 5,500 will be able to attend each match day at the Gaddafi Stadium (in Lahore),” the Pakistan Cricket Board said in a statement.

Last March, when the pandemic was shutting down global sports, four PSL matches were held in closed stadiums and the playoffs in Lahore postponed to November in an empty National Stadium in Karachi.

The sixth PSL begins on Feb. 20 with Karachi hosting the first 20 games before the Twenty20 competition moves to Lahore, which hosts the remaining 14 matches, including the final on March 22.

“These are baby steps and, considering that most sport events are being played in empty stadiums, this is a positive achievement,” PCB chairman Ehsan Mani said.

Pakistan is currently hosting a two-test series against South Africa without spectators.


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