German football fans get green light to return to stadiums next season
Bundesliga clubs and other German sports venues will be allowed to welcome up to 25,000 spectators from next month, the city of Berlin said Tuesday after a meeting of officials from Germany's 16 states.
Most matches in Germany's top football league were played behind closed doors last season - so-called Geisterspiele or ghost games - because of the Covid-19 virus.
The new Bundesliga season starts on August 13th and with infection rates having fallen sharply, sports stadiums could be at 50 percent capacity, with the total number per match or event capped at 25,000.
The only exception is reigning Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, where up to 20,000 fans will be allowed into home games at the 75,000-capacity Allianz Arena because officials in Bavaria are allowing only 35 percent of capacity.
The new rules apply until September 11 and amid concerns in Germany about the Delta variant of the coronavirus, incidence rates must not exceed 35 new infections per 100,000 people over the previous seven days.
If that happens, and "the infection cannot be clearly contained", a maximum of 5,000 spectators will be allowed into sports events, German officials warned.
Only fans who can prove they are vaccinated or present a negative test will be allowed into stadiums and hygiene rules must be followed.
An easing of the regulations meant crowds of around 14,000 were allowed to attend Euro 2020 matches at Munich's Allianz Arena over the last three weeks, but fans were largely kept out of German league games last season.