The Bundesliga has agreed on a plan for fans to return to stadiums, but only if the government gives them the green light later this month.
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In a meeting of clubs from the top two tiers of German soccer on Tuesday, clubs voted in favor of allowing some fans back into stadiums when the 2020-21 season starts on Sept. 18, with German Cup games scheduled for the week before that.
Germany has dealt with the coronavirus pandemic particularly well but there are concerns about a second wave after a rise in infections in recent weeks.
The parameters for how Bundesliga fans would be able to return to each stadium, and the protocol for pulling it off safely, is generally as follows:
- No visiting fans until the end of 2020
- No alcohol sold in stadiums until at least Oct. 31
- No standing in stadiums until at least Oct. 31
- Contact info and ID data to be collected for all fans inside the stadium
Now it is all about the meeting next week between the health ministers of each region of Germany, as they will have the final say on whether or not some fans can return to stadiums.
The Bundesliga was the first of Europe’s top five leagues to return to play, as they restarted the season in May amid the coronavirus pandemic. The protocols the Bundesliga put into place set the framework for leagues in England, Spain and Italy to resume action later in the summer.
Speaking in a news conference German Football League (DFL) CEO Christian Seifert had the following to say on the matter via Yahoo.
“If and when fans will return to the stadiums is not a decision for the DFL but for the political leaders,” Seifert said. “The DFL does not expect or demand anything but we are preparing to take this small step (with fans in stadiums) when the time comes. Priority is not full stadiums but the health situation. We should not take unnecessary risks but we should also not capitulate and just expect it to go away.”
“No one at the DFL will demand a specific number of fans. That would be irresponsible. Professional football can only come back in steps. There is no magic switch for politicians to give the green light for full stadiums. That will happen in steps. We will have to reclaim normality in small steps.”
The soccer and sporting world will have all eyes on Germany to see if this plan is approved and how things go from mid-September onwards.