Bundesliga breakthrough: Home fans to return

Bundesliga fans will be allowed back into stadiums when the new season kicks off with champions Bayern Munich hosting Schalke on Friday.

Following a virtual meeting of the federal states’ chancelleries on Tuesday, home fans will be allowed back in stadiums, with no away fans present, no alcohol allowed and a ban on standing.

The German Football League (DFL) will allow 20% of capacity to be allowed in. However, if a 7-day infection rate in a home city is above 35 per 100,000, a game must be played without spectators in attendance.

The league agreed on a framework for the return of fans in August, with contract tracing regulations in place. Those attending matches will need to supply contact details in case of a new infections during the COVID-19 crisis. Every club has worked on location-specific hygiene concepts which includes prevention measures inside the stadium and on the way to the grounds. They must be approved by local health authorities before supporters are allowed back.

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In the German Cup on Monday, more than 10,000 supporters attended Dynamo Dresden’s 4-1 win over Hamburger SV in the state of Saxony, while 300 were allowed back in when third-league club MSV Duisburg lost 5-0 at home to Borussia Dortmund.

Sources have told ESPN that Dortmund’s famed Ultras will not return to matches at present. Borussia Monchengladbach Ultras, meanwhile, released a statement that said while they understood the need to partially bring back fans, “visiting a stadium under that hygiene protocol has nothing even remotely to do with what we perceive as fan culture.”

The Bundesliga resumed on May 16 last season, becoming the first major football league to return amid the pandemic.

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