The Danish Football Union (DBU) and the Superliga, the domestic top division, have launched a campaign designed to reopen a scheme that would allow fans to attend games in greater numbers.
The campaign, entitled ‘Superligaordningen – sikkert stadion under COVID-19’, is aimed to increase awareness among fans, football stakeholders and Danish authorities over how matches were staged under ‘Superligaordningen’, and convince those in power that a reopening of the scheme is both necessary and fully justifiable.
In June, it was announced that Danish Superliga matches could run at significantly increased capacity for the remainder of the season after authorities deemed three trial matches with 500 spectators per section a success.
Danish football had been one of the trailblazers in Europe in the safe return of fans to stadia, but the scheme was suspended by the government on September 18. Regulations currently in place until at least the end of October limit stadium attendances to 500 in total, effectively meaning that clubs are limited to 200-300 fans at games.
Superligaordningen was devised around the concept of housing fans in multiple sections within a stadium, limited to 500 apiece. Fans were made to sit in allocated seats, observing social distancing rules of one metre. Ticket purchasers were obliged to provide contact information to aid authorities with track and trace measures.
The new campaign aims to show how professional football matches can be held responsibly in the time of COVID-19. This is being conducted through a social media campaign, information provided to authorities and talks with fans.
Claus Thomsen, director of Superliga Divisionsforeningen, said: “We do not understand why a solution that works as documented and is important for mitigating COVID-19’s damage to employment and the economy must be shut down.
“There have been 46 matches played under the Superligaordningen scheme, without any spread of infection being found in connection with the outdoor matches. It is a misunderstanding if people think that we are playing football matches with several thousand people who can freely mix with each other. It is not the case.
“Therefore, we have a need to inform both fans and authorities about how the scheme actually works, because it clearly shows that it is a matter of sound behaviour at the stadium and a safe spectator journey.”
The DBU and Superliga have backed up their argument by citing financial impact projections carried out by Deloitte. If the current restrictions continue it is said that clubs in the Superliga and 1st Division risk losing up to DKK 850m (£103.4m/€114.2m/$133.9m).
The closure of Superligaordningen also effects matches played under the auspices of UEFA, for example Denmark’s national team games and matches in the Champions League and Europa League. UEFA currently permits stadium capacity of up to 30%, where local restrictions allow. The DBU is estimated to have lost between DKK 20m and DKK 25m from national team games.