Which football league has the most fans?

Refusal to return fans in the Bundesliga : Confusing signals from politics

Sport is used to looking at numbers. But the interest in it has probably never been as pronounced as it has been in these weeks and months. It is not about statistics that show results, goalscorers or tables. But about new infections with the corona virus. The existential future of many clubs, events and entire leagues depends on them.

How well Germany had been a few months ago. The curve of infected people went down so far that the Bundesliga was one of the first professional leagues in Europe to be able to send its teams onto the field again - albeit without a spectator. Germany, so the tenor, is one of the best able to handle the crisis, also in sport.

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But the curve of the infected is now turning in the wrong direction, and sport has to give up its hopes for more normality, i.e. events with spectators, for the time being. On Monday, the health ministers of the federal states unanimously agreed at their conference that opening the stadiums to fans by October 31st was not to be supported.

That was not yet a decision and not very specific. In addition, the clubs are now likely to wonder how this fits with the containment regulations of the countries. In Berlin, for example, up to 5,000 people are allowed outside at major events until October 24th. Is that no longer the case? Or is it? The confusion is great. In any case, the new Bundesliga season should start on September 18.

It should be clear: The concept quickly developed by the German Football League (DFL) for a partial admission of mostly far more than 10,000 spectators for the next season will not work for the time being. This is a big setback for the Bundesliga. The financial pressure weighs on the clubs despite the abundant TV revenues. It was therefore quite remarkable the understanding with which those directly affected reacted to the setback.

Labbadia: "Health comes first"

"It is normal that we all - not only in football - want to live more freely," said Hertha BSC coach Bruno Labbadia on Tuesday. “But the political leadership also has overall responsibility and has to keep an eye on the common good. Health comes first. ”The message from the German Football League sounded similar. "The DFL has always emphasized that the containment of the coronavirus must have the highest priority," it said. It goes without saying that it therefore respects the position of the health ministers.

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Anyway, the question would have been whether the spectators would have come en masse to the planned start of the season. According to the DFL concept, tickets should only be issued in a personalized manner. In addition, the standing room should not be occupied and - an absolute no-go for many football fans - no alcoholic drinks should be served.

And then there is the fear of people getting infected with the virus in a football stadium or on the way there. In an interview with Tagesspiegel, the pharmacologist Fritz Sörgel warned weeks ago that if fans were partially admitted, there was a risk of being infected by so-called super spreaders. Especially since the clubs discussed audience numbers of up to 30,000. Under all these conditions, one can lose the fun of Bundesliga football.

A survey published on Tuesday by the polling institute YouGov, according to which 44 percent of the participants generally spoke out against games in front of an audience, also fit in with this. So there is great skepticism. Before the Bundesliga has to convince politicians that fans should be allowed back in, it may have to do it with the people.

Bundesliga clubs complain at a comparatively high level

At the same time, the Bundesliga clubs in football are still complaining at a high level. The TV money should at least ensure their survival. The situation is different in fringe sports in this country, such as volleyball. The signal that went out from politics on Monday was clear: If the outdoor sport doesn’t tolerate spectators, then it’s certainly not the indoor sport.

In view of the current containment regulations in Berlin, Kaweh Niroomand, manager of the BR Volleys, still assumes that the Berlin volleyball Bundesliga team will be able to let 1000 spectators into the Max-Schmeling-Halle until October 24th. After that, he said on Tuesday, “we will work to ensure that perhaps not 5000, but significantly more than 1000 spectators can come”. The 67-year-old did not forget to say after almost every sentence that “everything depends on the pandemic”. The anxious look at the numbers continues.

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