Limited numbers of spectators can return to Germany’s football stadiums when the new Bundesliga season kicks off this weekend after a six-week test phase was agreed Tuesday.
Germany’s politicians are allowing each stadium to be at 20 per cent capacity for the Bundesliga’s 18 clubs, providing the seven-day rate of infection of the coronavirus is lower or equal to 35 per 100,000 inhabitants in the local region.
That means around 15,000 fans could now watch title holders Bayern Munich start the new season on Friday at home to Schalke 04 at the Allianz Arena.
Fans must wear face masks and stay 1.5m apart, while alcohol is banned and away supporters are not allowed.
“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.
There was already a test run in the first round of the German Cup last weekend.
A set number of fans were allowed into each ground with the numbers varying due to the different health authorities’ regulations from region to region.
Following a two-month hiatus after the coronavirus pandemic hit Germany in March, the Bundesliga became the first of Europe’s top leagues to resume in mid-May behind closed doors.
The last German league game played in front of fans was on March 8.