RB Leipzig, Gladbach, Hoffenheim: These clubs have already relocated their European Cup home games abroad due to the Corona regulations. An absurd step. Because: The season should be canceled.
Champions and start next week Europa League the knockout phases. Year after year, it is these duels that fans and players alike are particularly excited about: the floodlights, the hymn before kick-off, the audience of millions on the screen. But this European Cup season, like the last one, is overshadowed by the corona pandemic. While fans were occasionally allowed in the stadiums in the group stage, about in Rennes, virus mutants and rigorous entry bans make European cup evenings with supporters in the stands in spring 2021 finally impossible. And yet they hold Uefa and the clubs stuck to the games. The season is now canceled at the latest.
The maintenance of the Bundesliga game operations is largely accepted and ensured through clear hygiene and travel concepts within the Federal Republic. Adherence to the competition between the best teams on the continent cannot be conveyed to the general population.
Why are you not satisfied with the previous privileges?
While millions and millions of people close themselves off within their own four walls and forego any social contact that is not absolutely necessary, teams, coaching staff and officials from corona risk areas such as England should travel across Europe to maintain the appearance of a functioning bubble for 90 minutes. Because in England in particular, more and more athletes are becoming infected with Covid-19.
Aleksandar Ceferin: The Uefa president is now obliged to demonstrate realism and morality. (Source: Agencia EFE / imago images)
Instead of doing without this unnecessary danger to human life and being satisfied with the privilege of at least being able to host national competitions, clubs like RB Leipzig are looking for Borussia Monchengladbach and TSG Hoffenheim after Corona loopholes in Europe, in order to feed on the million pot European Cup again this year. The Champions League participants from Leipzig and Gladbach play their home games in Budapest, Hungary, while the Hoffenheimers move to Villareal in Spain.
The Bundesliga clubs do not act much differently than greedy financial sharks who cheerfully move their homes from one tax haven to another, always looking for the next capital maximization. Because this decision by the clubs is not about a “competition at the highest level” with which the relocations were justified, but about the money. The fact that the abandonment of the home arena opens the door and gate for further excesses, such as regular “home games” abroad, which have been common for years, especially in US sport for marketing reasons, is a completely different story.
Two Spanish clubs show that there is another way
It was only last year that the two traditional Basque associations did not necessarily have to go along with all this maximization and internationalization thinking Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad San Sebastian proven. The two teams from northern Spain should host the cup final in summer 2020, due to the pandemic in the empty Olympic stadium in Seville. Although it was about silverware (for San Sebastian it could have been the first title since 1987), prestige and the European Cup qualification, both club leaders agreed less than 48 hours after the association’s decision to forego the final in this form. The clubs communicated in a joint statement that they cannot simply take this great holiday away from the supporters and the entire Basque Country and therefore only want to play the game when spectators are again allowed in the stadium. To this day, Bilbao and San Sebastian stick to their decision.
Now it is also Aleksandar Ceferin’s duty to demonstrate realism and morality. If the Uefa president does not speak a word of power in the spineless game venue haggling, he is complicit if the European Cup games develop into super-spreader events. This is the opportunity for Ceferin to distinguish himself as a prudent leader with a clear edge. After all, there are already more than enough money-hungry yes-men in football.