Mexican clubs to clean toilets & limit capacity

MEXICO CITY - Mexico's top flight football clubs will be allowed to fill their stadiums to half their normal capacity at the weekend as the country gradually relaxes controls aimed at curbing the spread of swine flu.

Clubs have also been told to provide clean toilets and sanitary hand gel at stadium entrances under guidelines issued by the Mexican Football Federation (FMF).

Last week's nine first division games were played behind closed doors in an effort to combat the virus, costing the clubs thousands of dollars in lost gate receipts.

"The priority is not to fill the stadiums," FMF general secretary Decio de Maria told reporters. "The important thing is that as a society we finish the battle against this situation."

The government says swine flu is on the retreat in Mexico, where there have been at least 42 confirmed deaths, and has begun gradually lifting restrictions at work places and public venues.

Clubs had been told to leave a free seat between supporters, barring families who could sit together, and discourage fans with respiratory problems from attending, among eight guidelines issued by football authorities.

The weekend's matches will be the final round in the qualifying stage of the Clausura championship.

Mexican teams San Luis and Guadalajara were also authorised to stage their Libertadores Cup home ties in Mexico on May 13 if their opponents accept, the South American Football Confederation said earlier on Thursday.