Between exemplary and irresponsible – this is how the pictures from the old forester’s house were commented on last weekend. While no spectators were allowed in the stadiums in Bremen, Leverkusen, Munich and Stuttgart on matchday five of the Bundesliga, the footballers of 1. FC Union were supported by 4,500 fans in the game against Freiburg. Whether it is irresponsible, in view of the rapidly increasing number of infections with the coronavirus, to let thousands of people, including common arrival and departure routes, in a football stadium, or whether it is exemplary to enable a life in a crisis with functioning concepts – this question was initially raised by the Policy answered. The discussions about this are likely to intensify after the decisions in the Rotes Rathaus and the plans of federal politics, analogous to the first lockdown in March.
On Tuesday evening, the Berlin Senate decided to tighten the Infection Protection Ordinance. According to the publication, there is an upper limit of 500 people for outdoor events. This also includes football games for now. Marcus Jung, press officer of the second Berlin Bundesliga club Hertha BSC, explained »nd« before the upcoming home game against Wolfsburg next Sunday: »We are in regular contact with the authorities and discuss the effects of adapting the infection control regulations for the upcoming home game. And we have always emphasized that we accept the Senate’s infection control regulations, as we have great confidence in the decisions of politics and authorities. «However, the club from Charlottenburg had already thought before the start of the season about not making use of the last upper limit of 5000 people to take because it is not financially worthwhile.
1. FC Union questions many political decisions and never wanted to exclude its fans. On the contrary: the club is still working on a concept with preventive tests to enable full utilization of its own stadium. The date intended for this and previously postponed several times was the game against SC Freiburg. However, the association had withdrawn the application required for this, and on Wednesday a week ago President Dirk Zingler justified it as follows: “The fact that the rapid tests have now found their way into the federal test strategy encourages us in our plan. We are continuing our project to hold events with the help of such tests, because from our point of view it is still important to open up a perspective for the event industry and to be able to determine with quick tests whether visitors are infectious for the duration of an event or not. However, we will only use test capacities that are not needed for priority groups of the population. “
On Wednesday 1. FC Union did not want to react to the new developments, but rather “wait and see what will actually be implemented,” said the club “nd”. The conference call between Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Prime Minister on Wednesday was of even greater importance – and will again lead to a fundamental discussion about professional football. But the Senate resolution also contributes to this. With regard to the maximum number of persons for events, the following applies: “After a hygiene concept has been examined by the Senate Administration responsible for health, this restriction can be changed or lifted.”
German professional football was able to return to the game relatively early in May with a much praised and globally exemplary concept. It is not to be expected that this will change. The dpa news agency wanted to learn from the deliberations of the ministerial conference on Wednesday afternoon that, in view of the increasing number of corona infections, the federal and state governments only want to allow professional sport in November without spectators. Ghost games were to be expected with a view to the draft resolution. Under point 6 it said briefly: “Events that serve entertainment are prohibited.”
After all: professional football can pursue its primary purpose, which it emphasized again and again in the spring crisis: earn money. It is also clear that there will be little acceptance of this in the case of a planned nationwide restriction of contact to the “absolutely necessary minimum”, if social life is shut down due to the closure of restaurants, cinemas or public sports facilities. Especially since the promise of improvement has not yet been partially fulfilled anywhere, instead the commercial spiral was simply turned on in the summer transfer market. When a Bundesliga manager like Hans-Joachim Watzke from Borussia Dortmund complains about “football bashing” on the part of politicians and uses the club’s “huge cost structure” as an argument against a league lockdown, it becomes absurd.
The political decisions affect the entire sport. The first discontinuation of the league operations from this Thursday, for example by the Southwest German Football Association, indicate that it will probably come to a standstill in the leisure and amateur sector. For professional leagues in other sports such as handball, basketball or ice hockey, the exclusion of fans is life-threatening because, in contrast to professional football, the income from the spectators is vital. This is another reason why political guidelines are being questioned. »We know that the hygiene concepts of organized sport work. Sport is not a hotspot, ”said Thomas Härtel, President of the State Sports Association of Berlin, on Wednesday, showing no understanding for the decision of the Prime Minister’s Conference.
The view of the simultaneous demonstration in the capital by thousands of people to preserve the event industry in turn leads to football: When 1. FC Union is working on its concept for a football with spectators, i.e. for a life in crisis instead of lockdown, they are not sitting rarely responsible people from the Berlin event industry at the table.