Double whammy for SC Freiburg!

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SC Freiburg update Sept 2020 Image: SC Freiburg

As if the ‘noise pollution’ setback was not enough, German Bundesliga football club SC Freiburg, based in the city of Freiburg im Breisgau, Baden-Württemberg, in Germany, has been dealt a fresh blow in the development of its new stadium following a court ruling that it will not be allowed to host league games in the evenings or at Sunday lunchtime.

It appears that the neighbors are losing their sleep over the ‘noise pollution’ the venue would cause on game day, and after a protracted legal battle, the neighbors are having the last laugh.

It seems SC Freiburg’s new venue move is kind of jinxed! Freiburg is presently planning to move into the SC Freiburg Stadion for the second half of the 2020-21 seasons, but the development of the 35,000-capacity venue has been mired in multiple legal issues.

After the legal issues, the ‘noise pollution’ part comes as double whammy which is a huge blow for a club that plays its league matches on weekends. Because Bundesliga matches are “recurring events” rather than one-offs, the noise ordinance applies, and matches in those times are forbidden since they occur during a “daily rest period”.

Studies apparently revealed that matches at the stadium will exceed the threshold for acceptable sound.

In the wake of complaint from local residents, the Baden-Württemberg Administrative Court (VGH) ruled on September 15th, 2020, that Bundesliga games will not be permitted from 8 pm or on Sundays between 1pm and 3 pm. It will only be relaxed in the case of domestic or European cup fixtures.

As per media reports, the VGH observed that Bundesliga games were “probably wrongly classified as rare events within the meaning of the sports facility noise protection ordinance”, adding that the decision would be incontestable in accordance with the statutes.

However, the Club and the City are confident that the ruling will be overturned.

The Regional Council of Freiburg (RP stated, “We are still confident that our arguments in the main proceedings at the Freiburg Administrative Court will be convincing and that the legal issue will be clarified in our favor by the highest court if necessary.”

Fumed SC Freiburg’s Chief Financial Officer, Oliver Leki, “(This is) an incomprehensible decision that was not to be expected. I am confident that our legal opinion will be confirmed in the further proceedings.”

And it is but obvious that the club is clearly pissed off and the decision comes as an absolute nightmare for Freiburg.

The ruling on September 15th comes after it was initially revealed in October 2019 that Freiburg’s under-construction facility would not be able to stage night fixtures or Sunday-afternoon matches between 1 pm and 3 pm amid concerns over noise.

The VGH ruled that the club would not be able to play at these times, which have been deemed “rest periods”. The ruling came after local residents complained that the new arena, which is being developed at a reported cost of €76m (£69.5m/$90.2m), would cause significant noise pollution on match days. Following appeals, the VGH was forced to reopen this case.

However, the local administrative court has ‘missed’ out on the fact that the new venue of SC Freiburg sits next to an airport and flights are neither grounded during the evening hours nor during the weekends! And yet, the facility which has cost the club a bomb does not pass muster! This makes the whole ‘noise pollution’ angle a fit case of ‘much ado about nothing’.

The SC Freiburg Stadion would be a major upgrade in several ways over their former dig which has become passé. They have paid through their nose for their new home – about 76 million Euros.

The new arena of SC Freiburg will replace the 24,000-seat Schwarzwald-Stadion.

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