Bulgarian health minister said on Tuesday that stadiums could welcome spectators at matches when the Balkan country's top division resumes on Friday.

The top-flight season, which will re-start in a shortened format, has been on hold since mid-March as part of lockdown measures following the Covid-19 crisis.

The government's decision to allow the resumption of the league without any spectators in attendance has sparked widespread criticism and nearly a dozen of fan-clubs sent on Monday a letter to Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, saying matches could be easily organised with spectators in the stands.

According to the much-anticipated order, issued by Health Minister Kiril Ananiev, spectators would be allowed at stadiums if they took up no more than 30% of a given venue's capacity.

Ludogorets, who has won the title for the past eight seasons, top the 14-team league with 55 points from 23 matches, nine more than Lokomotiv Plovdiv, Levski Sofia and CSKA Sofia.

Bulgaria began easing its partial lockdown in late April but continued to enforce strict social measures on many of its citizens and businesses, helping to prevent the spread of the virus across the Black Sea state. 

As of Tuesday, Bulgaria had 2,538 confirmed coronavirus cases, including 144 deaths, a relatively low number in Europe.

Last weekend fans returned to Hungarian stadiums for the first time since March, with every second row remaining empty and only every fourth seat is occupied.

Other eastern European leagues, such as those in Russia and Poland, will also allow fans at stadiums, albeit at vastly reduced capacity in order to maintain social distancing protocols.

Last month saw the resumption of Germany's Bundesliga, without spectators. English Premier League, Spanish La Liga and Italian Serie A will re-start later this month behind closed doors.