When the corona pandemic put the game on hold in spring, the German Football League (DFL) worked under high pressure on a hygiene concept. Politicians were impressed by the strategy and approved the plans to resume – the Bundesliga was the first major league in Europe to start again. Professional football hopes for a similar course in the debate about the return of fans. In order to be prepared with the best possible concept, the representatives of the 36 clubs will therefore set guard rails for possible games with an audience this Tuesday at a virtual general meeting. After the DFL had already sent out a first set of guidelines in mid-July, an explicit vote is now being taken on four points drawn up by the Presidium. This is opposed to the opinion of those whose return it is about – with the respective standpoint of the fan association »Our curve«.
No guest fans
Until the end of the year, there should be no guest fans. Standpunkt DFL: The Presidium is “aware of the fact that away trips and the associated (mood) competition between fans are an important part of German football culture.” This is another reason why the guests are usually entitled to at least ten percent of the tickets of the available stadium capacity. However, one should not turn a blind eye to reality and with this measure one wants to minimize the travel activity of the fans.
Point of view “Our curve”: Away trips have a special attraction for fans, they therefore demand a fair distribution of the tickets. “There must be no unequal treatment of fans, which is why we are in favor of admitting guest fans,” says the organization’s manifesto.
No standing room
Standing room should be waived at least until October 31st. Standpunkt DFL: Here, too, the League Association makes it clear that standing room is an »essential component« of German fan culture. Curves and grandstands contribute to the “special atmosphere”. However, the fans are crowded there. “Compliance with a distance requirement cannot always be met and enforced there,” presumed the DFL.
Point of view »Our curve«: The fans feel extremely restricted by this regulation, as they cannot support their team as usual. There is a fear that the play could become a kind of theater performance and therefore demand a say. “You don’t have to forbid standing room in principle, you can find an option that is accepted by everyone if you seriously talk to the fan scene about the events of a ‘Corona matchday’,” said Thomas Kessen from “Our Curve”.
There should also be no alcohol in the stadiums until at least October 31. Standpunkt DFL: According to the statutes, alcoholic beverages may not be served anyway, the usual practice only takes place with prior official approval. The DFL fears that the consumption of alcohol could lead to disinhibition, which could lead to problems with regard to distance and hygiene rules.
Point of view “Our curve”: Actually, this point should cause few problems. But the fans feel offended by it, disciplined like a small child. “If you want to ban guest fans, alcohol and standing room, that shows a fundamental distrust of football fans,” complained Kessen.
Position of the DFL: The clubs must ensure that in the event of infection, the identity and contact details of all spectators who were in the stadium can be determined. The tracking of infection routes is “a special focus”.
Point of view »Our curve«: With this sensitive topic, the fans demand that data protection is guaranteed and that there is no covert surveillance. “Clubs and associations must ensure that the data recorded is not passed on to the security authorities.” And: “New monitoring technologies must not be introduced through the back door of health protection.” SID / nd