Bundesliga attendance plans hit by government stance

German Bundesliga clubs’ plans to welcome fans back to stadiums have been dealt a blow after national health minister Jens Spahn said it would send the “wrong signal”.

Last week, clubs in the top two tiers of German football agreed on a set of measures that would allow some fans to return to stadiums for the 2020-21 season, which is due to start on September 18.

It was decided at last week’s virtual German Football League (DFL) meeting that away fans would not be allowed back until at least the end of the year. If fans were able to return at all, no standing spaces would be opened before October 31 at the earliest and no alcohol would be allowed in the stands.

The German government has banned events with large crowds until October 31 and the proposals outlined last week required approval from the relevant political authorities.

Germany’s 16 state health ministers met yesterday (Monday) to discuss the return of fans and Spahn has spoken out against the plans, which he feels would send the wrong message as the country continues to deal with COVID-19.

“Thousands of fans in the stadiums – that doesn’t fit with the current situation with infections,” Spahn said on Twitter. “Now it’s about not taking any unnecessary risks.

“The concept of the DFL is good in theory. What matters in this pandemic, however, is practice in everyday life. We feel that we must remain vigilant. In the current situation, spectators in the stands would be the wrong signal.”

Berlin health senator Dilek Kalayci echoed Spahn’s comments, stating that the city would not be in favour of opening stadiums to fans until October 31 at the earliest, at which point the matter could be revisited.

Spahn’s comments come after Germany last week recorded its highest daily number of new COVID-19 infections in three months, with 1,045 cases recorded on August 5.

DFL chief executive Christian Seifert admitted last week that the deciding vote on fans’ return to stadia would ultimately belong to political leaders, and Spahn’s comments would appear to put a pin in the league’s plans.

Image: VfLWolfsburgFußball/Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Germany (CC BY-SA 3.0 DE)/Edited for size

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