BAL to allow limited fans in arena after Rwandan government approval

Kigali Arena in Rwanda will host the entire inaugural season of the BAL. The BAL

The Basketball Africa League will be played in front of fans after all, with the Rwandan government opening Kigali Arena up to limited numbers of spectators under strict COVID-19 safety protocols.

The tournament, which is affiliated with the NBA, tips off in Kigali on May 16, and has been under 'bubble' conditions during the build up, with players kept apart for the most part and no fans allowed.

But Rwanda sports minister Aurore Mimosa Munyangaju told local outlet The New Times, confirmed to ESPN by the BAL, that fans would be allowed under masked and social distancing rules.

Munyangaju said: "Fans are allowed at the Arena. However, every fan will only be allowed to watch a match after showing a Covid-19 negative test.

"All other preventive measures like wearing of facemasks and social distancing among others will be strictly followed."

The tournament opener on Sunday sees Nigeria's Rivers Hoopers take on hosts the Patriots. The latter gained further fame this month when U.S. rapper J. Cole signed up to play for them as shooting guard.