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AGF Aarhus to open ‘virtual stands’ for derby match

Danish Superliga football club AGF Aarhus has come up with a novel way for fans to watch their team by offering ‘virtual’ Zoom tickets to the upcoming match against Randers.

It is hoped the Superliga season can resume in late May. The first fixture that will be played when the league does restart will be AGF’s derby against Randers as this was the only game from matchday 24 that did not go ahead due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Even though Superliga matches will be played without fans at the stadia, AGF has devised a plan that will enable supporters to ‘virtually’ attend the game against Randers.

AGF has teamed up with video communications service Zoom to give fans the chance to watch the match with one another. As part of the initiative, the club will create 22 different Zoom calls to replicate 22 sections of its Ceres Park stadium. Neutral and away zones will also be created.

Several screens will then be set up at the actual Ceres Park showing fans on the various Zoom calls, meaning that players will be able to see the virtual crowd during the match.

“It will be the first tournament match in a long time,” AGF chief executive Jacob Nielsen said. “We are celebrating that with a historic digital initiative, and we are proud to be the first club in the world to use it.

“Now it seems that we will have to do without spectators for a while, so maybe we can inspire similar initiatives at other clubs that can also benefit from it.”

AGF is not the first Superliga club to come up with an innovative plan to keep fans engaged while matches are held behind closed doors. Last month, FC Midtjylland invited fans to a ‘drive-in’ experience for matches at MCH Arena, whereby the club will make 2,000 spaces available for supporters to watch the action from the stadium car park.

Image: AGF Aarhus