As optimism around the course of the global pandemic starts to grow, more and more teams across the world are allowing fans back into stadiums to watch games. Some countries like Australia and New Zealand have implemented very strict controls around coronavirus protocol, all but eradicating the virus from their countries and allowing fans back to sporting events in full. Others are allowing partial re-openings for sporting events, with screening, sanitation, and social distancing guidelines in place.
Some Mexican states and locations are starting to allow a limited amount of fans into games. Currently, Mazatlán FC, Necaxa, Santos Laguna, FC Juárez, Chivas de Guadalajara, and Atlas are allowing fans to attend matches or will allow fans to attend the next home match. And while there is room for a debate on whether or not these teams should allow fans due to the ongoing pandemic, the fact is that they are, at least for the men.
I reached out to all of the aforementioned clubs to ask if there were plans to allow fans at the upcoming women’s games. Three clubs responded that they were evaluating how it went with their recent men’s games and taking it step-by-step, with one adding “of course there are plans for the women’s team.” Another team said they would continue to play Femenil games behind closed doors. Mazatlán announced via social media that they would be allowing fans in for the first time ever to take in a Mazatlán Femenil game at Estadio El Kraken.
Para cerrar el #DíaInternacionalDeLaMujer como se debe, les traigo un notición.— Mazatlán Femenil (@MazatlanFem) March 9, 2021
¡Tendremos afición en nuestros partidos de local !
Nos vemos en el Kraken el próximo jueves.#ARREbatando ⚓️ pic.twitter.com/wZLwc7D5hi
No other clubs responded to requests for comment in time for publication.
It’s important to point out that the requirements to have games in front of fans vary between states and localities in México (just as they do in the United States), and that while some states may be more lax in their requirements, others are stricter. One of the clubs that responded pointed out that “opening for another game (men or women) is going to require the government to give the green light again” after the stadium had once again undergone all of the required sanitary procedures. They also pointed out it was a decision that in that particular location needed to be made for every time a game was to be hosted, and each required signoff from the local government.
Other clubs may have issues with the owners of their stadiums not wanting being liable for any potential exposure. Not all clubs own the stadium or stadiums that their teams play at, and that’s another potential hurdle not only to having femenil games but varonil games as well.
Hopefully as safety protocols are standardized even at a local level, the “new normal” will be something that clubs can adjust to and incorporate their women’s teams into. Ticket sales can be an important stream of revenue for women’s teams, who don’t have the same lucrative television and sponsorship deals that their male counterparts have.
Allowing fans to attend a femenil game might also be a way to draw more fans to watch on a regular basis, and keep attending games once bans are lifted. It’s also perhaps a clear signal to the fans, the media, and most importantly the players themselves that the teams of Liga MX Femenil are an integral and equal part of the organization as a whole.