Germany Health Minister dampens hopes of starting Bundesliga season with fans

Supporters of Borussia Dortmund during a UEFA Champions League game. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
Supporters of Borussia Dortmund during a UEFA Champions League game. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images) /

Germany’s Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn put a damper on hopes that fans could be allowed back into stadiums for the new Bundesliga season.

Last week, the DFL had a meeting with the 36 clubs in the first two divisions of German football to set out guidelines for the potential return of some supporters for the start of the new season on September 18. Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga clubs agreed on a number of points, including no away fans until the end of the year, no safe standing until October, no alcohol and personalised tickets to help with contact tracing.

DFL CEO Christian Seifert said last week that while the clubs were hopeful of welcoming fans back, the final decision would rest in the hands of the politicians. The hopes have now received a setback, with Spahn tweeting that while the DFL’s plan is good, this is not the time to take unnecessary risks.

"“Having thousands of fans in stadia doesn’t fit the current infection situation. Now is not the time for taking avoidable risks. The DFL concept is good in theory. But what is decisive in the pandemic is the practice in everyday life. We’re aware that we have to remain vigilant. In the current situation, fans in the stands would be the wrong signal”"

Germany has seen a spike in coronavirus cases in recent days, and there is skepticism from other politicians as well. Markus Söder, the Minister-President of Bavaria said that the return of fans to stadiums in September would send a “disastrous signal to the public”.

"“It would send a disastrous signal to the public with regard to medical capacities as well as the cultural events,” Söder said.“I’ve backed the Bundesliga starting with games behind closed doors. But I am very sceptical about having full stadiums for the Bundesliga start. I can’t imagine that. It is not wise to think that when we start school, when autumn starts, we will have an additional 20,000, 25,000 or more people in the stadiums”"

Söder added that he can imagine fans returning during the season, but not at the start of the Bundesliga season in September.

Next. Bundesliga Team of the Season. dark

In order for Bundesliga clubs to be able to welcome fans back to the stadiums, they would have to receive the green-light from local health authorities. There was a meeting between the Health Ministers of the states earlier today, but no decision was made on this issue, as this is not considered to be a priority for those in charge.