Fans are again allowed to enter the stadiums and halls of professional sport in larger numbers. The clubs can use 20 percent of the capacity in a six-week test phase. Now the clubs have to implement their hygiene concepts – and prepare for various developments.
From Chaled Nahar
The heads of the state chancelleries agreed on this nationwide regulation on Tuesday, which should already apply at the weekend. The decision is not only relevant for professional football. Other sports such as ice hockey, handball, volleyball or basketball can now count on at least some of the income from ticket sales at the start of their season in the coming weeks.
According to the health minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU), a third of the places in the regional soccer league should be allowed to be used. The individual corona protection regulations of the 16 federal states should be adapted accordingly.
What the clubs have to do now
The Corona Protection Ordinance of the respective federal state provides the framework conditions in which the health authorities at the locations of the clubs can approve various measures. At the beginning of the pandemic, this applied to training and matches and also applies to spectator admission. Now the clubs have to implement their concepts.
On the basis of a guide from the DFL, the clubs of the two national soccer leagues should develop concepts that they now have to submit to the health authorities for approval. Despite the actually generally applicable regulation, differences can still arise because the number of infections in Saxony, for example, is significantly lower than in Baden-Württemberg. The decision continues to be made by the health authorities. The club’s concepts should take into account different audience figures – which are then applied depending on the pandemic situation. In other sports too, the concepts must be approved by the health authorities.
What consequences the agreement has for the fans
In the stadiums and halls, fans will largely have to adhere to the measures they are now used to: distance requirement, mask requirement, hand washing. To ensure this, the clubs’ hygiene concepts may include special measures, such as delayed admission to avoid crowds. Arriving by bike, on foot or by car should be preferred so that local transport is not too tight. Toilets could run in one-way traffic. “It must be clear to everyone: If the clubs are not able to comply with this, then it will be withdrawn immediately. There must not be the slightest doubt about this,” said Baden-Württemberg’s Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann (Die Grünen).
An alcohol ban should also apply. The distribution of tickets will be controversial for some clubs as demand may exceed supply. Some active fan scenes want to stay away from the games. On the one hand, the rule “all or none” applies to many scenes. On the other hand, there are concerns about the handling of the data that is to be stored for tracking chains of infection. According to the Reuters news agency, the state chancelleries therefore agreed on personalized tickets. Some fan organizations fear, however, that the data will be improperly handled by security authorities. Data protectionists from Bavaria recently criticized that the police used the data from Corona guest lists from restaurants.
At the games in the DFB-Pokal with spectators it could be seen on some videos that the rules were not always observed. In Rostock, fewer tickets are to be sold on the south stand in the future, announced Rostock’s Senator for Social Affairs Steffen Bockhahn (Die Linke). There, in the game against VfB Stuttgart, the conditions were violated several times.
Who plays on the weekend
At the weekend, the first game day of each of the three major soccer leagues is scheduled, with clubs from 13 different federal states having home games there. In the Bundesliga, several thousand fans can already come to four out of nine stadiums. Leipzig (8,500 visitors), Frankfurt (6,500), Berlin (5,000) and Bremen (8,500) have already approved the respective hygiene concepts of the clubs. For the opening game of the 3rd division between 1. FC Kaiserslautern and Dynamo Dresden are on Friday (5.45 p.m. /live on the first) 4,985 spectators admitted to the Fritz Walter Stadium.
After the political agreement today, further locations are likely to follow in all leagues, the German Football League (DFL) has been signaling readiness for a long time. “We can manage major events. All clubs are able to get several thousand fans into the stadium within a time window of three to four hours with digital registration measures and in compliance with hygiene rules,” said DFL board member Alexander Wehrle from 1. FC Cologne about two weeks ago.
The football weekend
|Bundesliga||2. Bundesliga||3. League|
|Bavaria – Schalke||Hamburg – Düsseldorf||Lautern – Dresden|
|Frankfurt – Bielefeld||Regensburg – Nuremberg||Bavaria II – Türkgücü|
|Union – Augsburg||Hanover – Karlsruhe||Lübeck – Saarbrücken|
|Cologne – Hoffenheim||Sandhausen – Darmstadt||Rostock – Duisburg|
|Bremen – Hertha||Würzburg – Aue||Labor pains|
|Stuttgart – Freiburg||Heidenheim – Braunschweig||Meppen – 1860|
|Dortmund – Gladbach||Fürth – Osnabrück||Zwickau – Haching|
|Leipzig – Mainz||Kiel – Paderborn||Ingolstadt – Uerdingen|
|Wolfsburg – Leverkusen||Bochum – St. Pauli||Magdeburg – hall|
|Mannheim – Viktoria|
What consequences the agreement has for the individual sports
Professional men’s football can use the income from the sale of tickets, but other sports and football leagues are much more dependent on this money. The start of the season in the individual leagues is very different, but for most team sports the political realignment comes in good time with the admission of fans. You now have time to prepare for the new framework conditions.
It remains to be seen whether the presented solution really helps sports like ice hockey financially. “We have almost 80 percent match day-related income,” said Gernot Tripcke, managing director of the German Ice Hockey League, in the sports show. It’s not just about ticket sales – it is still extremely important.
Season starts in sport
|ice Hockey||OF THE||13.11.2020|
|ice Hockey||Women’s Bundesliga||17.10.2020|
What sport has to prepare for the future
The partial opening of the stadiums and halls is often referred to as a “step towards normality”, which should be followed by full stadiums as soon as possible. However, the further development remains completely unclear, because the pandemic continues unabated. The World Health Organization reported the highest number of new infections in one day worldwide to date. Most recently there were similar sounding reports from Spain, the Czech Republic and France. Parts of the German neighboring countries Belgium, France, the Czech Republic and Switzerland are on the list of risk areas of the Robert Koch Institute.
These developments show that the next step could be the approval of full stadiums. The next step could also be a return to completely empty stadiums or even a renewed endangerment of the game and training operations. Danish football was almost back to normal. On Tuesday, the government announced that it would only allow 500 fans in several stadiums instead of several thousand fans. All clubs and leagues in Germany should be organizationally and financially prepared this time as well as possible for such a case – because at least the experience is now there.