By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Berlin, Hamburg, and Schleswig-Holstein aim to keep live spectators

In what amounts to something of a pushback at (not to mention test of) Germany's new federal governing regime, three German states have passed their own ordinances that may allow a limited amount of live spectators into professional sporting venues after all. 

Whether or not we shall see some live spectators attending Bundesliga matches when the league resumes in January 2022 remains to be seen. 
Germany's new three-party-coalition government sought to make a stern statement on Tuesday when Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) claimed that "major supra-regional sporting events may no longer be held with spectators. As we noted in our reportage on that political development here on Bulinews, there might still be some legal wrangling possible under that federal definition.

In less than 48 hours, that "wrangling" has come to pass. It's not entirely clear what falls under the federal definition of "major supra regional sporting events." In principle, if sporting clubs ban visiting fans, they may still be able to allow in some spectators under stringent "2G" conditions.

With that in mind, the city states of Hamburg and Berlin passed ordinances that will allow both their indoor and outdoor sporting clubs to let live fans in through the turnstiles in January. The northern state of Schleswig Holstein also plans to permit some supporters in.

Berlin's new mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) endorsed a resolution passed by the Berliner Senate on Tuesday that will permit indoor capital city sides such as Alba, die Eisbären, and the Recycling Volleys to allow in up to 2,000 persons under "2G". Bundesliga representatives 1. FC Union Berlin and Hertha will be permitted 3,000 live fans in their venues.

"We have opted to proceed cautiously here when taking both risks and protective measures in consideration," Giffey said after a meeting with the Senate adjourned, "We wish to maintain activities in culture, sports, and business as much as possible under limited conditions and have come to the conclusion that this option is better than outright cancellation."

This is obviously good news for the German footballing scene; particularly in light of the fact that the two Berlin sides are slated to face one another in a highly anticipated third round Pokal fixture on January 19th. Apropos city rivalries, Hamburgs two clubs are slated to face one another in the second division on the 21st.

Hamburger SV and St. Pauli will theoretically be allowed to welcome 5,000 fans to their home games. Second division Holstein Kiel should be authorized for 1,000 home supporters if the regulations in the Germany's northern-most province holds.

It must be stressed that it is not yet at all clear whether these plans will be put into effect. The Bundesrepublik's federal regime sent its message. Now the states attempt to assert their own. It's entirely possible that all of this will be wiped away on January 7th, after the next federal-state summit meeting.

Germany's new corona-measures are hardly the standard on the European continent. Plenty of other countries are reacting to the new Omicron COVID variant with far less draconian measures.

As we noted in one of our previous pieces, the layer of population protection via high vaccination and booster rates may render the whole issue of the Omicron variant moot. A more contagious strain of the virus may not place more citizens in danger.

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