By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Confirmed: Bundesliga to return to empty stadiums nationwide in 2022

A federal-state summit meeting in the capital on Tuesday evening has produced a new federal mandate calling spectator-less "ghost games" across the entire German Bundesrepublik, effective December 28th, 2021. 

While there remains some legal wrangling possible under the guidelines still being released at this hour, it appears as if no Bundesliga clubs at any level will be permitted to allow in spectators through the end of January 2022. 

More measures will be confirmed after the conclusion of the next major federal summit, which will take place on the same day that the Bundesliga returns: January 7th, 2022.
In the words of new German chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD): "Major supra-regional sporting events may no longer be held with spectators." The leader of Germany's new three-party-coalition government specifically referenced football in remarks accompanying a newly approved set of extra restrictions approved by the federal governing regime and representatives from all of Germany's 16 federal states.

A new set of nationwide restrictions approved in Berlin on Tuesday evening are scheduled to go in effect one week from today, after the Christmas holiday. The new federal mandates are aimed at curbing the spread of the new Omicron COVID variant. The delay justified by the fact that Germany's existing restrictions on the unvaccinated have worked to contain the spread thus far and keep hospitals clear. Moreover, many public vaccination drives are scheduled over the Christmas holiday and it has been deemed vital that these gatherings be allowed to continue.

The regime and state premiers are scheduled to meet again on January 7th, 2022 to approve new policies. In principle, nothing (including the shuttering of all sports clubs) extends beyond this date. It is widely expected, however, that public officials will expand the mandate through the duration of the winter on this date It also looks to be the case that this will be the date on which Germany announces a mandatory vaccine mandate for all of its citizens. The committee has requested a plan-of-action from its public health authority for just such a matter.

Reactions from the world of German football are sure to be hostile even in their acceptance. So many executives and administrators have staked out their stance on this issue over the past 22 months of the pandemic. Germany's preeminent footballing publication has thus far managed to obtain comment from one-such footballing boss.

Alexander Wehrle of 1. FC Köln, which packed in 50,000 fans for the home derby match against Borussia Mönchengladbach three weeks ago, told Kicker Magazine's Tobias Rudolf that each Geisterspiel would cost his club an estimated €1.8 million in revenue. This includes gate revenue, concessions, and merchandise sales.

The German Bundesliga is not slated return until January 7th, the date on which the duration of the current federal mandates and the new federal policies will be announced.

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