Nice will play their opening match of the new Ligue 1 season without spectators, in spite of government rules allowing up to 5,000 spectators in their stadium, club president Jean-Pierre Rivere said.
Rivere said the decision for the match against Lens on August 23 was made for health reasons and due to the difficulties of deciding which fans would be able to attend.
“We are facing a health problem. We are in a very tourist-orientated region, and there is an acceleration in the spread of COVID-19,” the club’s website quoted him as saying.
“This is increasing day by day. We cannot ignore it. At a time when everyone is being asked to take more precautions, we are making the responsible choice to play behind closed doors.”
Rivere said the club had tried to create a selection process to decide who could attend the match but had decided to “reverse that process”.
He added: “We believe that we should not exclude anyone from our family.
“Of course we are sorry that it has come to this point, we are aware that it will lead to some people being upset.”
Government rules currently allow up to 5,000 people at outdoor venues.
The 2019-20 Ligue 1 season was called off due to the coronavirus pandemic and Paris St Germain, the leaders at the time, were handed the title.