COVID-19

Covid: Bundesliga prepares to play behind closed doors again

Will the Bundesliga be the first major league to return to total closed doors due to Covid? The threat looms, while Leipzig has already played on Saturday without spectators and Bayern in turn will have to close their stadium to the public.

“We must assume that the Bundesliga will continue without spectators. It is a fair decision ”, said this Tuesday Michael Kretschmer, president of the executive of the Land of Saxony, who already prevailed last Sunday behind closed doors at RB Leipzig, defeated at home 3-1 against Leverkusen in a Red Bull Totally empty. The Land of Baden-Württemberg (Freiburg and Stuttgart in the Bundesliga) has also spoken out in favor of closing stadiums to fans. The leaders of the regional states and the German federal government, who disagreed on the point in a meeting on Tuesday, are expected to finally make their decision on Thursday. And if some obviously still want to try to save what can be saved, limiting and controlling entry to stadiums, the most radical have already spoken.

Exemplary function

“Football has an important role as exemplary”, recalled the popular head of the Bavarian regional government Markus Söder: “There are different approaches (…) but if we do not make the decision (to ban spectators) at the federal level, Bavaria will do it alone ”, He warned this Tuesday, de facto announcing the return of closed doors to Bayern Munich, without setting a date, however. “If we close the Christmas markets, it is not consistent to send 15,000 to 18,000 people to football,” pleaded Mr. Söder. In Germany, each region is autonomous to decide on anti-Covid measures, and some clubs can play in a full or partially full stadium while others play behind closed doors.

After a disastrous 2020-2021 season, with almost all matches behind closed doors, the public had been able to gradually return last August, although some speakers were still a long way from being able to refuel: Bayern Munich and Dortmund, the two leaders, they played respectively in front of 34,000 and 43,000 viewers on average, or about half their capacity. On Saturday, Bayern were already under much stricter restrictions and only played Bielefeld (1-0) in front of 12,000 fans. If these measures target all popular mass demonstrations, it is obviously football, which draws large crowds each week, that is in the spotlight. “We must clearly limit large leisure gatherings,” said Helge Braun, chief of staff for outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday morning, “given the dramatic situation in the country, he is no longer responsible for attending the games of the Bundesliga like last weekend with dozens of players. ” thousands of spectators ”.

A Klassiker behind closed doors?

“Everyone agrees that something has to be done in football,” added Bavarian Markus Söder, pointing to the always very passionate “Rhine derby” Cologne-Mönchengladbach (4-1), which took place on Saturday in front of 50,000. viewers. This meeting has especially aroused disapproval in the political class, while the pandemic is experiencing a new outbreak in Germany, with an incidence on Tuesday of 452.2 per 100,000 inhabitants. “Allowing games to be played in full stadiums last weekend was a mistake. It is clear, that should have been avoided ”, thus criticized the leader of the Greens Robert Habeck, appointed as vice chancellor of the government that will succeed Angela Merkel in December. On Saturday December 4, Dortmund, second in the championship, host Bayern, leaders, in a “Klassiker” that makes Germany salivate from football. An official decision has not been announced yet, but it is a safe bet that the dreaded Signal Iduna Park will sound empty at 6:30 pm … if it is not completely empty.

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