No fans for Raiders at home games in first Las Vegas season

Los Angeles (AFP) –


The Las Vegas Raiders will play home games at their new $2 billion stadium behind closed doors this season because of the coronavirus pandemic, the team announced on Monday.

The Raiders, who are preparing for their debut campaign in the Nevada gambling capital after relocating from Oakland, made the announcement in a letter to season ticket holders.

"There is nothing more important to the Raider Organization than the health and safety of our players, coaches, staff, stadium workers and fans," the franchise said in the letter.

"After intensive consultation with healthcare officials and state and community leaders, we have made the difficult decision to play the Las Vegas Raiders 2020 inaugural season at Allegiant Stadium without fans in attendance.

"This decision is based on our commitment to protect the health of our fans and the entire community in response to the coronavirus pandemic affecting us all."

The Raiders said they had weighed up making a limited number of game-day tickets available but decided against it.

Several NFL teams have already announced plans to allow some fans in to games this season.

However the Raiders opted against, citing the "potential inequities associated with determining who can and cannot attend specific games if the stadium were to operate at a reduced capacity."

The decision means Raiders fans will have to wait another year before experiencing the futuristic Allegiant Stadium.

The 65,000-seater venue boasts a retractable natural turf field, a translucent roof and is based in the heart of Las Vegas, walking distance from the famed Las Vegas Strip.

The Raiders are due to play their first home game on September 21 against the New Orleans Saints.