The news football fans have been waiting for? Government group is looking into whether UK can copy Germany’s model of getting supporters back into grounds at last
- Tens of thousands of supporters have been allowed back into Bundesliga games
- The UK government scrapped a plan to allow supporters to return on October 1
- But an expert group has been set up to see if the German fan model can work
- Germany’s model allows stadiums to be up to 20 per cent full if cases are low
An expert group set up by the Government are studying whether Germany’s system of allowing fans into sports events can be used in England, according to reports.
Tens of thousands of fans have been allowed back in to Bundesliga football games over the past fortnight, with 11,500 supporters attending Borussia Dortmund’s 4-0 victory against Freiburg on Saturday.
That is in stark contrast to professional sports matches in the UK currently, where no fans are allowed after the Government scrapped a plan to allow them to return on October 1 due to rising coronavirus cases in the country.
An expert group is studying whether Germany’s model of fans in stadiums can work in England
More than 11,000 fans attended Borussia Dortmund’s victory against Freiburg on Saturday
Meanwhile no fans are allowed in in the UK after Boris Johnson scrapped a planned return
Liverpool – 288 cases (Liverpool, Everton)
Birmingham – 110 cases (West Brom, Wolves, Aston Villa)
Leicester – 81 cases
Leeds – 149 cases
Newcastle – 239 cases
Southampton – 17 cases
Manchester – 289 cases
Brighton & Hove – 22 cases
Burnley – 341 cases
Sheffield – 110 cases
Hammersmith and Fulham – 38 cases
Islington – 35 cases (Arsenal)
Haringey – 35 cases (Tottenham)
Kensington and Chelsea – 26 cases
Newham – 54 cases (West Ham)
Croydon – 26 cases (Crystal Palace)
But according to The Times, Sports Technology Innovation Group (STIG), set up by the Government last month, has made it a priority to see if Germany’s approach could be adapted for English sport.
Germany’s model allows stadiums to be up to 20 per cent full if the number of coronavirus cases in the local area has been below 35 per 100,000 people over the course of the previous seven days.
The system applies only to home fans and local authorities have the final say, including options of reducing capacity below 20 per cent or playing games behind closed doors.
Bayern Munich have not been permitted fans because of the number of cases in the city, while Schalke have also had a fan ban despite their proximity to Dortmund,
The report adds that should the model be utilised in England, clubs outside of the north and Midlands – where cases have risen sharply – would be allowed to grant fans permission to return in some capacity.
However, the two Manchester clubs, Leeds United and Liverpool would currently be among those unable to admit fans, with all their cities having infection rates of more than 40 cases per 100,000 in certain wards.
The expert group’s study will also include strategies used by German authorities for public transport, and how to get fans to and from stadiums safely.
Many Premier League and EFL clubs have been infuriated by the government’s decision to scrap the return of fans, insisting that their stadiums can comply with rules which could have allowed them to operate at an average 25 per cent of capacity.
The ‘paused’ return of fans which had been scheduled for the weekend has also led to fears of serious financial problems for many clubs.
Bayern Munich have not been permitted fans because of the number of cases in the city
Currently, the model would not allow Liverpool to admit fans due to cases in the city
The news comes despite the government admitting that seven Euro 2020 matches due to be staged at Wembley next summer could be cancelled because of Covid-19.
The tournament was due to take place in 12 different cities across 12 UEFA countries in June this year before it was put back until 2021 because of the pandemic.
Wembley is due to host England’s three group games, plus a last-16 clash, both semis and the final and while Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden is hopeful the games will go ahead, he admitted the virus could change plans.
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