COVID damper on Bundesliga opening fixture!


Germany back with 20 per cent fans Image: MJR Group Ltd./Coliseum

Rising coronavirus cases overnight at Munich in Germany has come as a big disappointment for the German sports club FC Bayern Munich and professional German football and multisports club FC Schalke 04 as their opening match will be held without supporters.

The FC BayernFC Schalke 04 opening fixture on September 18th (Friday evening) at Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany, will kick off the 58th Bundesliga 2020-21 seasons. However, no spectators will be allowed to attend the same because the COVID-19 infection index has climbed from 34 per 100,000 to nearly 48 overnight in the Bavarian capital.

The Bundesliga is a professional association football league in Germany. At the top of the German football league system, the Bundesliga is Germany’s primary football competition.

A decision to this effect was taken by the City of Munich authorities on Thursday afternoon looking at the rising coronavirus cases. A press conference was held in this regard to announce that the opening Bundesliga game will be sans fans.

Initially, the Bavarian State Office for Health did not approve the 20 percent actually allowed due to the current COVID-19 infection situation.

Earlier, on Tuesday, Germany had allowed 20 percent occupancy in stadia in any City of the country where matches will be played from now on. However, the decision came with a rider – the coronavirus infection index should not be more than 35 per 100,000 inhabitants in the host region of the game within the last seven days.

The Federal States had agreed on Tuesday that the stadium capacity may again be used up to 20 percent – but only if the infection rate on site allows it. First of all, a compromise was reached on Wednesday with 7,500 spectators.

In Munich, it has risen to nearly 48 in just one night thus not meeting the condition laid down and hence no fans will be permitted to attend the opening match.

The above development has also put a damper on Bundesliga which was all agog as to the partial return of spectators.

Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter (SPD) stated that allowing fans into stadia was a “wrong signal” and referred to updated coronavirus figures from the Robert Koch Institute (public health institute in Germany). Accordingly, the COVID-19 cases in Munich rose overnight from below 34 to 47.6.

“For me, this high incidence value, which has now also been confirmed by the Robert Koch Institute, means that we at least have to think about more drastic restrictions in public life. And I cannot let thousands of fans into the stadiums at the same time,” averred the politician.

It’s bitter for the fans and clubs, I know, but the crisis isn’t over yet, everyone has to be aware of that,” the Mayor of Munich added.

Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick, who was taken aback when the news broke in a press conference held to inform that fans will not be permitted, noted, “We have learned to adjust to situations that we cannot change. We have to do that again in this case. It will be with us even longer (read coronavirus). We just have to stick to the rule, that’s the way it is. I am very satisfied with my team because they are very professional with the whole thing.”

Though the heads of the State chancellery agreed that spectators can once again enter the stadia fold in Germany, but they made it clear that it can never be a full house scenario.

Spectators’ status

  • For the Eintracht FrankfurtArminia Bielefeld match at Deutsche Bank Park (Frankfurt, Germany), a maximum of 6,500 spectators will be allowed;
  • For the FC Union BerlinFC Augsburg match at the An der Alten Försterei Stadium at Köpenick in the German capital Berlin, a maximum of 4,300 spectators will be allowed;
  • For the FC CologneTSG Hoffenheim match at the Rhein-Energie-Stadion in Cologne, Germany, a maximum of 9,200 spectators will be allowed;
  • For the Werder BremenHertha BSC match at the Wohninvest Weserstadion in Bremen, Germany, a maximum of 8,500 spectators will be allowed;
  • For the VfB StuttgartSC Freiburg match at the Mercedes-Benz-Arena in Stuttgart, Germany, 8,000 spectators will be allowed. For the following home game of VfB Stuttgart against Leverkusen there should be around 12,000 fans in the arena. The Mercedes-Benz Arena is the home ground of VfB Stuttgart;
  • For the Borussia DortmundBorussia Mönchengladbach match at Signal-Iduna-Park in Dortmund, Germany, a maximum of 10,000 spectators will be allowed. Borussia Dortmund is planning “carefully” with “about 10,000 fans”. Majority of the tickets are for people who have their place of residence in Dortmund, around a quarter of the tickets are meant for viewers from other parts of North Rhine-Westphalia. All tickets are personalized, up to two seat tickets can be booked side by side;
  • For the RB Leipzig1. FSV Mainz 05 match at the Red Bull Arena in Leipzig, Germany, a maximum of 8,500 spectators will be allowed. RB Leipzig takes on a pioneering role in the league. The fans will all have to be from Saxony; and
  • For the VfL WolfsburgBayer Leverkusen match at the Volkswagen Arena in Wolfsburg, Germany, a maximum of 500 spectators will be allowed. The Lower Saxony had made arrangements to allow at least 5,200 in the facility at the start of the league. Thanks to red tape, only 500 will be permitted at the start of the league.

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