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Covid-19 and Sports: Guidelines for the re-admission of spectators to the stadia

By Peter Senyonjo

The German football league sent all 36 federal and second division clubs on Wednesday a guide on allowing spectators again into the stadium fold.

The guidelines had been submitted to the Federal Ministry of Health for evaluation in advance. A ministry spokesman said in Berlin that the League concept takes “essential aspects of infection protection”.

The League organizers referred to the specifications issued by the ministry, according to which the consistent compliance with the highest infection protection standards is a basic prerequisite to make football games with the public possible again. According to the League body, even partial admission of viewers should always be dependent on regional infection events. In addition, the local concepts of the clubs will play a decisive role, which should be green lighted by the local health authorities.

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Bundesliga club, Fc Union Berlin has already declared that they want to play in a packed to capacity facility when the new season starts in September. All stadium visitors should be tested for the fatal coronavirus beforehand. The German Football Association also hopes to be able to fill the arenas again after conducting extensive nationwide coronavirus tests.

The title of the 41-page document is – ‘Basics and Guidelines for the Creation of Concepts for the Readmission of Stadium Visitors’.

No instruction, only recommendation! Each club should develop its own concept, which must be approved by the local Health Department. There is no nationwide regulation.

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Document details

An important point in the German Football League guidelines: Orientation to the pandemic development. If there are more than 35 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants at the club location and the neighboring counties, spectator admission will not be allowed. If the pandemic level is low (fewer than five new sufferers), a gradual return to normal operation is possible.

Essential points of the club concepts to be submitted: The capacity determination, a plan for the implementation of the ticketing, mobility or arrival and departure concept, organization and cleaning concept.

The League guide also includes various seat models. For example, if the occupancy rate is 33.3 percent, 32 seats would be available in a grandstand with 96 seats. There are also two additional seat models (44.4 percent and 50 percent), as well as a standing room model (12.5 percent).

Checking temperatures, such as those planned by Union Berlin, do not form part of the guidelines. Personalized tickets (address, telephone number) and the use of the corona warning app has been recommended.

Another recommendation made by country’s football league organisers to the clubs: Fan representatives should be involved in the concept creation at an early stage and a transparent lottery procedure should be communicated.

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