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A safe return for supporters in Germany?

The German Football League (DFL) and German Football Association (DFB) are currently holding talks with health authorities discussing the possibility of allowing the return of fans back into stadiums for football matches in the top two tiers of German football.

Following a statement by the DFL on July 10, there has been confirmation of discussions held with German federal ministry of health over the safety precautions and protocols that would enable football fans to return to the terraces in the wake of Covid-19. Friedrich Curtius, the secretary general of the DFB, has said that the governing body for German football will develop procedures to allow fans to witness live football matches later on this year.

Once approved, it’s likely that the number of fans allowed to return back onto the stands will not be at full capacity, as of yet, as there is still a chance of catching and spreading the virus. However, protocols may vary from club to club based on their stadium facilities, infrastructure and travel routes. Although, the statement provided by the DFL didn’t explicitly say what percentage of fans would be permitted to return.

The decisions made are likely to be required approval from the local health authorities, as local epidemiological conditions could determine what sort of health risk could pose to returning fans, deciding whether or not it is safe to allow fans back into football stadiums.

The DFL have said, ‘In order to assist clubs in creating concepts for their individual locations, following further discussions with the ministry, the DFL will continue to devise a guideline for the basic structure of local concepts and release this to the clubs,’

A members meeting will also be held ‘in good time’ before the start of the 2020-21 season to decide whether the leagues would permit certain clubs in particular areas the selling of tickets to visiting fans.

This statement follows the announcement of the schedule for next season. The 2020-21 campaign will commence on September 18 with the intention to finish the season on May 22 and 23. The Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga will begin after the DFB-Pokal club knockout competition, held between September 11 and 14.

In other news, the Times newspaper has reported that the Premier League is also considering allowing fans to return back into stadiums for next season. Stadiums are likely to be between 30 – 50 percent capacity and fans are likely to be instructed to wear face masks, while stadiums will be able to open their facilities three hours before kick-off.

This follows the Dutch Football Association (KNVB) announcement, on July 9, that domestic football in the Netherlands would resume in September with grounds at 15 – 35 percent capacity.

Author: James Parker