Bundesliga weekly vol.7: the stadium edition

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functionaries without Covid-19 masks

The absence of fans in the stadiums makes watching the Bundesliga so artificial. Covid-19 is the culprit for denying fans of watching their darling teams. It is a welcome relief to begin the start of 2020/2021 season that some fans could return.

However, football functionaries in the Allianz Arena did not behave like role models, and SC Freiburg will continue to play their home games in Schwarzwald stadium pending a court verdict. This is the stadium edition.

VIPs in Allianz Arena ignore masks as Bundesliga begins

Events in the VIP section of the Allianz Arena overshadowed the thrashing of Schalke by Bayern (8-0) to begin the Bundesliga in Munich. The VIPs wore no masks, and they sat close to each other in blithe disregard of DFL’s hygiene concept.

The concept states that all persons in zone 2 of the stadium that include the VIP section should wear a mask, if the minimum distance of 1,50m not possible. Also, when there is a minimum of 35 and higher new infections of Covid-19 per week per 100,000 residents, people must wear masks.

Many Germans follow rules, and there is an Ordnungsamt (Public order office) in every nook and corner in Germany to remind the citizens of order. Ordnung (order) is the first word on the lips of Germans in every sphere of life. I am surprised that the functionaries threw Ordnung away.

DFL in direct talks with FC Bayern officials about the issue. If the officials had worn a mask, it could have been a good advertisement to enforce DFL concept.

In contrast to the behaviour of normal fans in stadiums the next day,Sportschau reported that they behaved very well and followed the hygiene rules.

Another controversy was former Schalke boss, Clemens Tönnies in the stadium. It irked many fans in social networks that he was sitting with Schalke’s delegation to the game. Tönnies resigned from Schalke to focus his attention on his business amid the Covid-19 scandal.

Schalke had to put out a statement that Tönnies was in the stadium because of his close ties to Bayern and the invite from Munich

Fans return to stadiums in the Bundesliga and the commercialization cry

A general rule agreed between the 16 German states to allow 20% of fans to return to stadiums. However, it is subject to monitoring by local authorities. If the local Covid-19 infection rate increases, health authorities in collaboration with politicians will revoke the permission of fans to visit a stadium. It was the case in the Bundesliga opener between Bayern and Schalke.

Although many Bundesliga fans, starved of watching their teams play since Covid-19 became global welcome a return to stadiums, there has been a reoccurring argument about safety and placing more emphasis on profits over the health of fans in times of Covid-19. I don’t downplay the ravaging effects of Covid-19, but I understand the DFL’s (German football league) mindset to return to normalcy as soon as possible with our lives amid the angst and panic of the disease.

Commercialization of football is contentious and pits reformers against conservatives. So far, the contrarian view of reacting ad hoc to outbreaks by authorities is a lifeline to clubs on the brink of extermination.

It goes the quixotic view of football as purely for entertainment is outdated. It has become a viable business that pays taxes and provides employment for a cross section of society. The developing business model in football post Covid-19 will determine the direction. It is a case of sink or swim for all.

Freiburg’s new stadium use restricted by administrative court

Some residents of Mooswald, a part of Freiburg, in the interim relieved that the administrative court in urgent proceedings restricted SC Freiburg from using the new stadium in any Bundesliga game as from 8 PM and on Sundays between 1-3PM. The court classifies these times in legal jargon as “rare events within the meaning of the Sports Facilities Noise Protection Ordinance”. Exception to the rule are German cup or Europe cup.

Until the main proceedings take place in court to clear the air about the future use of the stadium, SC Freiburg will continue to play home games in Schwarzwald stadium.

The new stadium is capacious for 35,000 spectators, and construction will finish this year, at a cost of 76 million Euro.