German politicians have reached an agreement that is set to allow stadium attendance of up to 20% capacity across the Bundesliga when the 2020-21 domestic football season kicks off this weekend.
The agreement follows a meeting of politicians from state governments and is set to run on a trial basis, initially for a six-week period. The plan will also be applicable for other team sports leagues in Germany, but will come with certain caveats.
Social distancing and hygiene rules will need to be enforced in stadia, while there will be a ban on alcohol sales, no away fans will be admitted and only personalised tickets will be allowed. In addition, the status of COVID-19 in the respective states and region will be monitored. If more than 35 people per 100,000 inhabitants in a certain area are infected in a seven-day period, a stadium in that location will no longer be able to admit fans.
Earlier this month, Leipzig’s health authority gave permission for up to 8,500 spectators to attend RB Leipzig’s 2020-21 Bundesliga season opener against Mainz 05 at Red Bull Arena on Sunday. The city said fans will be allowed to attend if COVID-19 infection rates in the region remain at current levels.
Bundesliga clubs have mainly been playing games behind closed doors since March, but clubs in the Bundesliga and 2.Bundesliga in August agreed on a set of measures that would allow some fans to return to stadiums for the 2020-21 season.
The announcement has been welcomed by German football stakeholders, including German Football Association (DFB) president Fritz Keller. “I think this is great and I’m very happy because it reflects the work we’ve put into it over the past few weeks,” he said, according to the Kicker website. “We are very grateful. It is a fact that all federal states have agreed, and that is a good sign. You can start with 20%.”
Borussia Dortmund has said it plans to allow around 10,000 fans to attend its season opener against Borussia Mönchengladbach at Signal Iduna Park on Saturday. CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke said in a statement: “The Bundesliga football teams, but also the clubs and associations of other sports, can be very happy, and we definitely have this feeling at BVB.
“Personally, I would like to thank everyone in politics who contributed to this decision in the past few weeks. At the same time, I feel a great obligation that we as clubs, together with the fans involved, deal extremely responsibly with this probationary period in the coming weeks. The now approved partial re-admission of spectators is in any case a very important step for all football fans in Germany.”
Along with RB Leipzig, three other clubs had also previously received the green light from their local authorities to admit fans this weekend. Werder Bremen was permitted to allow up to 8,500 fans for its match against Hertha Berlin, while Eintracht Frankfurt and Union Berlin were permitted to have up to 6,500 spectators for their openers against Arminia Bielefeld and FC Augsburg, respectively.
Image: Borussia Dortmund