England To Copy Germany Bundesliga Example

October 09, 2020

- Bradley Stott

So desperate has the U.K. become to find a way to allow spectators back into the country’s sports stadiums, that government’s Sports Technology Innovation Group (STIG) is looking toward outside examples to make that happen. This as part of an urgent bid to save the country’s sports industry from going completely under.

Since tens of thousands of fans have been allowed to attend matches played by Germany’s Bundesliga over the course of the past two weeks, the government group has now declared it emulating Germany’s approach a priority. The group has said that it hopes that by copying what Germany’s top order soccer is doing, that it too will be able to see the same number of supporters make a return to the U.K.’s empty stadiums.

Their Approach Vs. Ours

Germany’s approach has been that of permitting fans to attend Bundesliga games provided the areas surrounding stadiums where matches are being played aren’t experiencing high volumes of infections.

This is a situation very much in contrast with what has been happening back home in the U.K. up until now. Government recently scrapped all pilot events with spectators planned physically present in the stands following a severe tightening of health-and-safety focused restrictions. The U.K. has been working tirelessly at trying to curb the spread of infections – and sports stadiums and leagues across the country have emerged collateral damage.

English leagues and clubs have since tried to impress on decisionmakers the dire nature of the situation, saying that smaller clubs could very soon end up completely shuttering their doors if relief doesn’t arrive very soon. Most smaller clubs are completely dependent on ticket sales for their livelihoods and financial survival.

Smaller Clubs Benefit Most

Germany’s approach now allows local stadiums to be filled to 20 per cent capacity permitting local cases remain below an average of 35 per 100,000 people over the course of any given 7-day period in time. Furthermore, only “home fans” are permitted to attend, thereby restricting an influx of travellers from outside regions. Local authorities remain the final say in all matters pertaining to admission. This means that local authorities may at their own discretion decide to either allow only a portion of the permitted 20 per cent in-person attendance, or even none at all.

The result has pretty much been a mixed bag. German top-performers Bayern Munich, for example, have not been able to welcome any fans in-person due to the high number of cases of infection in the city. Another club stuck in Munich’s boat is Schalke – this despite the club’s home arena being located not too far from Dortmund. Due to Dortmund’s comparatively lower number of cases, the club on October 3 welcomed around 11,500 fans for the game between Borussia Dortmund and SC Frieberg.

What To Expect Back Home

The logic at face value is that if England were to adopt a similar approach to Germany, many smaller soccer clubs, and in fact any clubs situated outside of northern cities and cities in the Midlands, will actually be in a position to welcome spectators to their games. Cases in the north and Midlands have been steadily on the rise.

Other strategies the STIG is said to be looking to copy from Germany include those related to public transport and to fans entering and exiting sports grounds. The group is reportedly now working on a model that would provide the necessary evidence in support of a limited number of spectators being permitted to attend live games in those areas with low rates of infections.

According to early estimations, should an approach similar to Germany’s be implemented, England could possible look forward to seeing anywhere between 2,000 and 2,500 spectators being welcomed back to attend live matches.

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