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Bundesliga season 2020/2021: Between ghost game and 10,000 fans

The time of ghost games in the Bundesliga is over for the time being: The federal states have agreed on a 20 per cent capacity utilization of the Bundesliga stadiums at the start of the season. The regulation also applies to other sports.

Just in time for the start of the Bundesliga this weekend, the German states have agreed on uniform rules for the return of fans. According to information from the German Press Agency from among the participants, the heads of the state chancelleries agreed on a six-week test run with spectators under corona conditions. The limit is 20 per cent of the respective stadium capacity – 1,000 spectators are allowed in the stadium or hall in any case. The rules apply not only to soccer but also to handball and basketball games.

According to this information, there will be important restrictions due to the ongoing corona pandemic. For example, no tickets will be issued for fans of the respective guest teams. The tickets will only be sold personalized to ensure that chains of infection can be traced. Therefore, completely digital solutions for ticketing are preferred.

In accordance with the applicable national regulations, a distance of 1.5 meters must be observed. This will be achieved “in particular by reducing the maximum audience capacity, equalizing the flow of visitors by segmentation at the entrance and exit, banning the serving and consumption of alcoholic beverages, and banning access for persons recognizably intoxicated by alcohol,” according to the resolution submitted to dpa. However, no spectators will be admitted to events if the 7-day incidence per 100,000 inhabitants at the venue is greater than or equal to 35, and the incidence of infection cannot be clearly delimited. Last weekend, the DFB Cup was a kind of test run for appropriate hygiene concepts.

Here’s an overview of the relevant occupation rules for the first matchday:

FC Bayern Munich – FC Schalke 04: 7,500 fans at the opening game

Despite the increased corona infection figures in Munich, the opening game of the German Soccer League is played in front of spectators. Before the duel with Schalke 04 on Friday (8.30 p.m.), the German record champion Bayern Munich agreed to a compromise, according to which 7,500 fans will be able to watch the match in the Munich arena. This corresponds to a stadium capacity utilization of just ten per cent.

A corresponding agreement was reached on Wednesday by Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) and Munich’s Lord Mayor Dieter Reiter (SPD) together with the German champion, who was represented by his President Herbert Hainer, among others.

On Tuesday, the federal states had agreed that stadium capacities might again be used up to 20 per cent – but only if the infection rate on-site allows it. The average number of Covid-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the past seven days must not exceed 35. In Munich, the figure is 34, according to the Robert Koch Institute, but the Bavarian State Office of Health states a much higher incidence value of 45.54.

Eintracht Frankfurt – Arminia Bielefeld: probably 6,500 fans

Eintracht Frankfurt had already received permission for 6,500 fans from the health department last Friday. Whether the Frankfurters will now adapt their hygiene concept once again and increase the capacity to the theoretically possible 10,000 or so is not yet certain. In any case, the 6,500 tickets will be raffled among the 31,000 season ticket holders. They will and have been informed about the details of the procedure – there are a recommended arrival time window and a minimum distance between each allocated seat. Families would then also have to take the corresponding individual seats in the stadium.

Borussia Dortmund – Borussia Mönchengladbach: 10,000 spectators – only from NRW

16,000 would be theoretically possible. Due to the hygiene concept, which is designed for 10,000, BVB will leave it at this planned number for the top match of the first matchday. Season ticket holders have already been informed by the club and can now apply for tickets. In case of too high demand, the decision will be made by drawing lots. In particular: To be able to guarantee follow-up in case of a possible infection in the stadium, tickets will only be issued to fans who are resident in Dortmund or NRW. For the time being, however, this only applies to the first home game. 

Werder Bremen – Hertha BSC: All tickets are gone

8,500 spectators – precisely the 20 per cent allowed afterwards – Werder Bremen had already planned for the first home game anyway. Because 5,000 season ticket holders made inquiries, the quotas have already been exhausted. They will be raffled off electronically among the “applicants”.

1 FC Köln – 1899 Hoffenheim: 9,200 fans – only those without a refund

Slightly more than 6,500 season ticket holders who have waived a refund have been given a ticket by 1 FC Köln. They will also be given preference in the allocation of the 9,200 admitted places for the first home game. Only after that are the fans, who have claimed a refund. Here, a rotation principle is to be established to give other fans the chance to get tickets. In general, a lottery will be held, but due to the short notice, an exception will be made for the Hoffenheim game: starting Thursday afternoon, online ticketing will be available.

1st FC Union Berlin – FC Augsburg: 5,000 season ticket holders with lucky draw

At Union Berlin, 5,000 fans were already admitted to the first home game before the decision was made on Tuesday. Here too, tickets will be raffled off among the season ticket holders who take part in the draw. If there are any remaining quotas, they will be made available by Friday at the latest, and the club will then inform you about the possibilities to get these tickets.

RB Leipzig – 1st FSV Mainz 05: 8,500 tickets raffled

That RB Leipzig would play in front of 8,500 fans for the opening match had already been decided for some time. The tickets are or were raffled off among season ticket holders who had actively applied for tickets.

VfL Wolfsburg – Bayer Leverkusen: For the first game only 500

VfL had hoped to be able to use 20 per cent of the stadium capacity on Sunday already, and thus 6,000 seats for spectators. However, for this to be possible, the Corona Ordinance of the Lower Saxony state government must first be adapted. This is not scheduled to happen until next week.

“We had hoped that we would be able to play in front of significantly more spectators as early as Sunday and had already received the green light from the local authorities in this regard. However, this is always subject to the proviso that the state of Lower Saxony still has to give its final approval,” said VfL Managing Director Michael Meeske. “It is, of course, a great pity for our fans that this cannot be implemented by next weekend. But we are pleased that we will be able to allow more fans to follow the game live in the stadium in our second home game. VfL’s second league home game against FC Augsburg will take place on October 4.

VfB Stuttgart – SC Freiburg: Probably still without fans

With the VfB Stuttgart theoretically about 12,000 spectators for the first home game would be possible. However, there are indications that the short-term reorganization could be a pitfall. It is therefore likely that only the Swabians’ second home game against Leverkusen will be played with this arrangement. The club has not yet commented on this.

Other clubs partly still in the process of clarification

The clubs that start the season with an away game have a little more time to get organized. Accordingly, not all of them have yet reacted publicly to the new guidelines and possibilities. Bayer Leverkusen, for example, has already announced that plans are being made for 6,000 fans. The tickets will initially be raffled among season ticket holders who “have chosen the “lottery pot” option for the 2020/21 season,” according to the club’s homepage. Schalke 04 is still in the process of organizing the event and intends to present a concept in the near future. Just like Arminia Bielefeld and other league members such as SC Freiburg, which still wants to coordinate with the local health authorities.

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