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Nice to play Ligue 1 season opener behind closed doors

The match between Nice and Lens on the first weekend of the French Ligue 1 season will be played behind closed doors despite earlier hopes a crowd would be allowed into the Allianz Rivieria, the southern club’s president said on Wednesday.

The promoted outfit are set to travel to Nice on August 23.

The French government announced this week that the cap of 5,000 people at public gatherings such as sports events would be maintained until October 30.

Yet the number of COVID-19 cases is rising in France and authorities have sounded the alarm about the prospect of mass gatherings.

“Looking at the health situation in our region and the accelaration of COVID-19, we have decided to play the game against Lens behind closed doors,” club president Jean-Pierre Rivere said.

“It might be excessive wisdom but the club want to be responsible,” he added.

The 2019-2020 Ligue 1 season was declared over in April due to the coronavirus pandemic with Paris Saint-Germain named winners.

The new season begins on August 21 with Marseille hosting Saint-Etienne.

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