Germany’s Bundesliga allowed to start season at 20 percent fan capacity

Germany's Bundesliga allowed to start season at 20 percent fan capacity
Cardboard cutouts of Mönchengladbach fans at Borussia-Park on April 29th. Fans hope it can help build a better atmosphere for ghost games played when the Bundesliga kicks off again. Photo: DPA
Limited numbers of spectators can return to Germany's football stadiums when the new Bundesliga season kicks off this weekend after a six-week test phase was agreed Tuesday.

Germany's politicians are allowing each stadium to be at 20 percent capacity for the Bundesliga's 18 clubs, providing the seven-day rate of infection of the coronavirus is lower or equal to 35 per 100,000 inhabitants in the local region.

That means around 15,000 fans could now watch title holders Bayern Munich start the new season on Friday at home to Schalke 04 at the Allianz Arena.

READ ALSO: German football fans hopes dampened as coronavirus cases rise

Fans must wear face masks and stay 1.5m apart, while alcohol is banned and away supporters are not allowed.

“Sports events thrive on fans' support and atmosphere with an audience – this applies to Bundesliga games as well as to amateur sports,” said Armin Laschet, state premier for Germany's football hotbed North-Rhine Westphalia.

There was already a test run in the first round of the German Cup last weekend.

A set number of fans were allowed into each ground with the numbers varying due to the different health authorities' regulations from region to region.

(article continues below)

See also on The Local:

Following a two-month hiatus after the coronavirus pandemic hit Germany in March, the Bundesliga became the first of Europe's top leagues to resume in mid-May behind closed doors.

The last German league game played in front of fans was on March 8th.

Germany's top flight clubs lose several million euros in lost match revenue for every home game played behind closed doors.

In August, the Marburger Bund, the association and trade union for doctors in Germany, also warned against a return of fans to the stadiums.

READ ALSO: Bundesliga: How Germany plans for football fans to return to stadium in September

“The danger of a mass infection would be real,” chairperson Susanne Johna told the Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung newspaper.

“If we are unlucky, a 'superspreader' would sit among the fans and the virus will spread like wildfire.

“Someone may not have any symptoms at all yet, but still his throat is already full of the virus.

“And with the shouting and cheering (at a game), it (further infections) can happen in a flash.”


Member comments

Become a Member to leave a comment.Or login here.