MOSCOW, October 8. /TASS/. The Russian Football Union (RFU) has decided to cut the number of fans wishing to attend a friendly match between the national teams of Russia and Sweden in Moscow on Thursday night down to 5,000, the RFU press service reported.

“We are very glad that for the first time this year our team will be playing a match with spectators in attendance,” the press service stated. “However, due to the epidemiological situation, we have made a decision to slightly cut a 30-percent quota of allowed spectators at the stadium.”

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) ruled on October 1 that stadiums hosting matches of national teams must be filled with no more than 30% of their total capacity.

The friendly match between the national teams of Russia and Sweden is scheduled to kick off at 7:45 p.m. Moscow time (15:45 GMT) at the over 30,450-seat capacity VEB-Arena in Moscow.

“Today we are expecting about 5,000 spectators,” according to the RFU press office. “We call on all of our football supporters to keep maintaining a social distance and wear masks and gloves.”

The Russian national team’s press office announced on October 7 that tests for the novel coronavirus of the national side’s players Georgy Dzhikiya and Marinato Guilherme returned suspicious results and both footballers have been isolated from the rest of the national squad.

The press service of the Swedish Football Association told TASS later that day that players of the national football team of Sweden, as well as the coaching and assisting staff, members had all tested negative for the novel coronavirus ahead of the friendly match with Russia.

The Russian team, led by Head Coach Stanislav Cherchesov, is also scheduled to play this month in Moscow two UEFA Nations League group stage matches, namely against Turkey on October 11 and Hungary on October 14.

Global coronavirus crisis

In late December 2019, Chinese officials informed the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus – named COVID-19 by the WHO – have been reported in every corner of the globe, including Russia.

On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. According to the latest statistics, over 36,466,430 people have been infected worldwide and more than 1,061,720 deaths have been reported. In addition, so far, over 27,452,380 individuals have recovered from the illness across the globe.

To date, 1,260,112 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 1,002,329 patients having recovered from the disease. Russia’s latest data indicates 22,056 fatalities nationwide. Earlier, the Russian government set up an Internet hotline to keep the public updated on the coronavirus situation.

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