RB Leipzig want to allow a limited number of fans to attend the first game of their 2020/21 Bundesliga campaign.
|Red Bull Arena||Photo: RB Leipzig|
German Bundesliga club RB Leipzig are scheduled to begin the 2020/21 Bundesliga campaign on Sunday, September 20th with a home match against 1. FSV Mainz 05. In a move dominating headlines across the Bundesrepublik, 'Die Roten Bullen' plan to allow in a limited number of spectators for their season debut.
RB Leipzig maintain the distinction of being the final Bundesliga squad to play a competitive football match live spectators in Germany before the COVID-enforced lockdown. Julian Nagelsmann’s side defeated Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 in the second-leg of a UCL Round-of-sixteen fixture back on Tuesday, March 10th. An estimated 42,000 fans filled the Red Bull Arena one day before Borussia Mönchengladbach and 1. FC Köln played in Germany’s first-ever top-tier “Geisterspiel” in a midweek makeup.
It now increasing appears as if the last German club to let in fans shall be the first to welcome them back. RB announced on Tuesday that it had procured approval from the local health department for a plan to allow approximately 8,500 supporters — roughly 20 percent of the home stadium’s capacity — through the turnstiles.
Leipzig seek to take advantage of the DFL-approved “Standortindividuelle Konzept” (or “location-specific-policy”) permitting clubs in regions not deemed COVID hotpots to make their own individual decisions with respect to fans. In accordance with the DFL policy, only local-season-ticket-holders will be allowed access. The club plans a special lottery to raffle off tickets among the 22,500 members holding a season pass.
Mask requirements will be in effect for those entering the stadium and moving from their designated seats. Further regulations shall be developed in accordance with the evolving medical and hygienic occupational safety guidelines continually updated by the “Special Operational Task Force for Sports Medicine” organized by both the DFL and DFB.
Low infection rates in the Leipzig region render this move possible. The latest data from Germany’s Robert Koch Institute indicates that the 7-day-incident-rate in the club’s designated region (defined as the number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants per week) currently stands 3.2. If the municipality (which has 600,000 residents) can maintain an incident rate of below 20 in the coming twenty days, there should be no significant barrier precluding the club from proceeding with its plans.
Kicker quotes Leipzig Managing Director Oliver Mintzhaff as an executive in a cautiously optimistic mood. “We are aware of the great trust placed in us by politicians and public authorities, and will proceed with the utmost caution and responsible care,” Mintzhaff notes, “[It follows] that the changing infection rate and any new emerging relevant information will prove significant to the eventual implementation.”