German outfit Borussia Dortmund have announced that their cancelled pre-season tour of Asia will be replaced with a virtual alternative in August.
With the Covid-19 pandemic having already had significant implications on the sporting world, it comes as no surprise that the pre-season tours, that many European football clubs take part in, will not be going ahead as planned before the 2020/21 season.
Dortmund’s pre-season tour expected them to travel to China and other countries in Southeast Asia. In its place, the German runners-up will host a Virtual Asian Tour that will be made up of a series of online sessions between both fans and players, as well as friendly games, live streams of training sessions and other offline events.
The event has been organised by officials from club offices based in Singapore and Shanghai. Dortmund hope to be able to offer Asian fans the opportunity to attend a variety of events based in venues across Asia, however, if these events are to go ahead, they will have to be organised around the strict Covid-19 restrictions that could differ in alternative areas. These events could include activities with Borussia Dortmund club legends, the BVB Evonik football academy and mascots, which is subject to change as coronavirus restrictions allow.
In the announcement, Dortmund’s manager director Carsten Cramer stated that after the original planned tour had to be cancelled, “many fans and partners” had come forward to express their wishes to still have an event, even in these difficult circumstances.
In light of this, Cramer went on to say: “this inspired us to strengthen our digital communications from Dortmund to Asia in close cooperation with our office locations in Singapore and Shanghai as part of our preparations for the 2020/21 Bundesliga season”.
Partners that have been granted a “special place” on the tour include: Evonik, Puma, Rowe, Duisport and numerous Asian businesses. Dortmund, with its primary international sponsors Evonik and Puma, are planning to launch the new cup jersey, traditionally worn in DFB cup matches, Champions League matches and international friendlies.
During the virtual stops in Singapore and Tokyo, media representatives are to be invited to online press conferences where they will have access to exclusive interview opportunities for the Bundesliga’s TV partners in each of the regions. These will be joined with the live broadcasts of training sessions in English, allowing for a more global audience.
BVB’s Head of International & New Business, Benedikt Scholz, explained why he felt it was important to hold this event.
“Very soon after it became clear that COVID-19 was going to prevent us and our Asian friends from seeing each other again this summer, something we had all been looking forward to, we started working really hard on alternative opportunities.
“The virtual tour was the result of these efforts, though we do of course appreciate that it can never serve as a satisfactory substitute for personal contact with the people involved. Nonetheless, it was very important for us to be able to demonstrate just how close our relationship is with our fans and friends worldwide. And we do also hope of course that we will soon overcome this difficult phase together.”
Author: Jake Wilkin