The German soccer league is preparing to play again without an audience, now for the Omicron variant

Will the Bundesliga in the first major championship to have to play behind closed doors again as a result of the pandemic? The threat is present and some teams, such as the Leipzig y el BavariaThey have already had to play without an audience or they will these days.

“We have to start from the assumption that the Bundesliga will continue without spectators. It is a fair decision,” said Michael Kretschmer, the president of Saxony, a state whose regional government had already imposed the closure of the RB Leipzig stadium last Sunday. in the 3-1 victory of Bayer Leverkusen.

The Bade-Württemberg “länder” (with Bundesliga clubs like Freiburg and Stuttgart) also came out in favor of stadium closures.

The leaders of the regional states and the German federal government have not yet agreed on what decision to take, although there should be a resolution on Thursday.

Some try to avoid complete closure, limiting capacity and controlling access to stadiums, but others have already positioned themselves in favor of shutting out the public again.

Soccer must be exemplary

“Football has an important role of exemplarity,” said the popular head of the Bavarian regional government Markus Söder: “There are different opinions, but if we do not make the decision (to close the stadiums) at the federal level, Bavaria will do it on their own.” He warned this Tuesday, although without specifying the date from which the measure will be effective.

“If we close the Christmas markets, it is not coherent to send 15,000 or 18,000 people to football,” argued Söder.

In Germany, each region is autonomous to take measures in the fight against Covid-19, so some clubs can play in their full stadiums and others do it behind closed doors.

After almost all the games were played with empty stands last season, the public gradually returned to the stadiums from August, although some venues are still far from regaining pre-pandemic seats.

Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, the top two finishers, have played in front of an average of 34,000 and 43,000 spectators per game on average, which is roughly half their capacity.

On Saturday, Bayern already suffered the severe restrictions and beat Arminia Bielefeld (1-0) at their stadium in front of only 12,000 spectators.

A “Klassiker” behind closed doors?

If the measures are aimed at popular mass demonstrations, it is clear that football, which moves thousands of people every week, is a priority objective.

“Clearly, we have to limit large recreational gatherings,” Helge Braun, head of the cabinet of outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel, said on Tuesday, “given the dramatic situation in the country, it is not reasonable to attend Bundesliga matches like last weekend. a week with tens of thousands of viewers. “

“Everyone agrees to say that something needs to be done in football“insisted the Bavarian Markus Söder, pointing a finger at the always passionate” Rhine derby “Cologne-Mönchengladbach (4-1), played before 50,000 spectators.

This meeting was criticized by the political class, at a time when the pandemic is experiencing a new wave in Germany, with an incidence this Tuesday of 452.2 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

“Allowing the dispute of matches in full stadiums last weekend was a mistake. It is clear that it should have been prevented,” admitted the head of the Greens Robert Habeck, future vice chancellor in the government that in December will succeed Angela Merkel.

Next Saturday, Borussia Dortmund, second in the championship, host Bayern, leaders, in a “Klassiker” highly anticipated by fans. No decision has yet been made regarding the presence or not of the public, but it seems increasingly clear that the always bustling Signal Iduna Park will sound empty this time.

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