Few spectators in Bundesliga games likely

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Bundesliga will return with fans August 2020 Image: DFL

The 36 clubs of the German Football League or DFL have unanimously agreed on a uniform procedure to enable at least few spectators to return to the stadium fold. However, no guest fans, no standing room, no alcohol.

The General Assembly of the DFL decided on Tuesday at the request of the DFL Presidium to make temporary changes to the rules of the game. A fourth key point is the temporary introduction of personalized online tickets, which should enable the tracking of infection chains during the COVID-19 curse.

Priority in Germany is not full stadiums, but the health situation, as coronavirus is still very much around,” said DFL Managing Director Christian Seifert during a press meet.

The concerned authorities will take the final decision as to whether spectators will be allowed once the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 season starts during the third weekend in September.

The first DFB Cup round is scheduled from September 11th to 14th. Very recently, Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) had expressed his concern over the increasing number of new coronavirus cases in Germany. He thinks Bundesliga games with 25,000 spectators are “very difficult to imagine”. Discussions are on as regards games being held with few fans in the stands.

The DFL sent a guide to the clubs in mid-July so that, in consultation with the health authorities, they could draw up individual safety and hygiene concepts for their respective locations. The handling of tickets and the ban on alcohol has been regulated uniformly initially till October 31st just like the “temporary execution of games without standing room”. The measures to play without guest fans, as well as to follow up infection routes apply until the end of the year.

Seifert said that it is the responsibility of the individual clubs to do the follow-up work as to the rules being laid down in view of the pandemic, who also emphasized that no fundamental decisions have been made for the long-term future of professional football in Germany.

The fan alliance ‘Our Curve’ has criticized the DFL plans. However, Board Member Jost Peter told mediapersons, “Despite all the longing that I have as a regular stadium goer myself, we are living in a pandemic-riddled world. And reason should always put health protection at the forefront. If the number of cases increases and it follows that the football game cannot be attended, then I have to accept that.”

Peter demanded, “If viewers are admitted, clear rules are needed if tickets should initially only be available in personalized online form. For example, the submitted data (only) should be used for health protection and not for other purposes, such as monitoring the fans. This obligation must be openly stated by the clubs.”

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