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SoFi Stadium will open without fans at Rams and Chargers games

 Rams play a scrimmage for the first time at an empty SoFi Stadium.
Rams play a scrimmage for the first time at an empty SoFi Stadium. The season will start with no fans at Rams or Chargers games.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

The Rams and Chargers announced Tuesday that games at SoFi Stadium will be held without fans until further notice because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Rams are scheduled to open the new $5-billion venue Sept. 13 against Dallas. The Chargers’ first game at SoFi is set for Sept. 20 against Kansas City.

Said Rams chairman/owner Stan Kroenke in a statement: “While we are doing everything to safely open SoFi Stadium and ultimately fulfill its promise to Rams fans, the NFL and to this region, we know our ability to welcome fans into the building will be guided by the wisdom of health care experts and the policies of local, state and federal government officials. Therefore, we won’t speculate on any timeline as to when fans will be able to join us. The health and well-being of our employees, community and the nation, remains our highest concern.”

The teams announced that they will continue to work with L.A. County Department of Public Health and the City of Inglewood on a plan to accommodate fans when circumstances permit.

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The Rams’ first workout at the $5-billion SoFi Stadium left them in awe, but fans likely won’t get to experience it in person anytime soon.

“While not being able to open SoFi Stadium with fans in attendance is heartbreaking, we are grateful for the opportunity to play NFL football this fall,” Chargers owner Dean Spanos said in a statement. “Even though progress in the fight against COVID-19 has been uneven, the teamwork it has taken to get to the point where we can safely play regular season games has been remarkably steadfast and consistent.”

Players had their own perspectives.

Said Rams defensive tackle Sebastian Joseph Day: “Obviously when you’re playing the fans probably juice you up. But we’re in a real tough situation right now with the this pandemic. At the end of the day it’s about keeping one another healthy, keeping one another safe. If that’s the deal, that’s the deal.”

Said Chargers defensive tackle Linval Joseph: “It’s still football. Fans or no fans, you still got to lock in. You still got to do your job. You still got to make plays. You still got to win the game.”

The NFL’s other California team, the San Francisco 49ers, also will begin their season without fans at home games.


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