Source: China State Council Information Office
The German Bundesliga could again be a role model for world sports.
Back in May, several countries followed the successful example of playing football matches behind closed doors in accordance with strict COVID-19 hygiene regulations.
This time, German sport is taking a step further, as all sports clubs are allowed to fill their halls or arenas to 20 percent capacity.
The trial will run until the end of October. The situation will then be reevaluated in six weeks.
The decision was widely welcomed not only by professional football clubs but other sports such as handball and basketball.
Permission to play depends on local infection figures. The so-called “7-day-incidence” must be below 35 infections per 100,000 inhabitants within a week.
Considering that the Bundesliga’s curtain-raiser between treble-winning Bayern Munich against FC Schalke may still be played behind closed doors as the city of Munich is reporting a rate of over 40.
The plan includes only personal tickets for locals, and alcohol is banned. Away fans are not allowed. Investigations will also be made into the effects on traffic, aerosols, fans arrivals, and departures.
Events in indoor and outdoor arena will be separate.
Several government officials have underlined that the permission depends on the outcome of the project. In case of violations, a new ban could be the result.
Due to low infection numbers, several states have already allowed fans to return in the first round of the German Cup, others however stuck to their bans.
Clubs and fans complained about the different measures. Some spoke of unfair competition.
Clubs from 13 (of 16) federal German states will play home games under the new conditions this weekend as the top three football tiers start their new season.
Depending on local rules and arena capacity, the number of fans will differ.
RB Leipzig will take on Mainz in front of 8,500 fans on the stands, while Eintracht Frankfurt is allowed to play with a 6,500 crowd against league newcomer Arminia Bielefeld. Borussia Dortmund is aiming for 10,000 spectators in its encounter against Moenchengladbach.
Only 4,985 fans will be in the stadium for Kaiserslautern against Dresden in the third tier.
Club officials said the number of fans must be manageable.
While professional football depends to a much lower extent on ticket sales, other sports view the decision only as a first step. Ice-hockey, handball and basketball require bigger crowds to cover their costs.
Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke has demanded that everybody obey the rules and “diligently take the great chance we have been given in sports.”
Meanwhile, the states of Schleswig-Holstein and North-Rhine Westphalia announced that they would consider higher rates of occupancy, up to one third of the arena capacity.