The new Bundesliga season will kick off this Friday and Germany’s football clubs have been allowed to have their stadiums at 20 per cent fan capacity provided the seven-day rate of infection of the coronavirus is lower or equal to 35 per 100,000 inhabitants in the region.
Following a virtual meeting of the federal states’ chancelleries on Tuesday, home fans will be allowed back in stadiums, reports said. Around 15,000 fans could watch the season opener in which champions Bayern Munich will take on Schalke 04 at the Allianz Arena on Friday.
Spectators will be allowed only if they wear face masks and maintain a distance of 1.5m from one another. Away supporters will not be allowed and consumption of alcohol has also been barred.
“Sports events thrive on fans’ support and atmosphere with an audience—this applies to Bundesliga games as well as to amateur sports,” said Armin Laschet, state premier for Germany's football hotbed North-Rhine Westphalia.
In a test run conducted in the first round of the German Cup last weekend, a set number of fans were allowed into stadiums. Numbers varied on each ground as health authorities in every region had different regulations.
The Bundesliga was the first of Europe’s top football leagues to resume play behind closed doors in May after global sports was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. Europe was initially one of the worst-hit regions as COVID-19 spread across the world since being first reported in China in December last year.
The last German league game played in the presence of fans was on March 8. Other leagues have also resumed play, but are yet to stage events in the presence of spectators.
(With inputs from agencies)