FC Union Berlin President Dirk Zingler is at it again. The Eisernen were the last top tier Bundesliga club to rule out spectators in the early March week that preceded global lockdown. They then became the first team to welcome back thousands of fans in a September 5th friendly.
Now Zingler says he wants a packed house at the Stadion an der alten Försterei. Target date: October 25, 2020.
|Photo: Seppalot13, CC BY-SA 3.0|
Speaking to Germany's ARD Radio, the boss of Germany's smaller capital club put it bluntly. "Football with [social] distancing and masks doesn't work," Zingler emphasized, "We need to figure out performance formats where distancing isn't necessary."
Zingler noted that a capacity crowd of 22,2012 at his Köpenick venue stood as the club's top priority and that his organization was working in close conjunction with the the league, local politicians, and health authorities. The plan is to host a full-capacity friendly during the international break on October 25th, one day after Union's 5th round encounter with SC Freiburg.
As for how Union plans to execute the plan, the key appears to be so-called "rapid tests" to be administered to spectators on-site. A crowd consisting of entirely of COVID-negative patrons can then fill the stadium without mask or distance restrictions.
It remains unclear as to whether public health officials will green-light the project. It is well-known that persons infected with the virus can still test negative for top to two weeks before showing symptoms. In any event, Union again wishes to lead the way; supplying a workable template for clubs around the world to emulate.
"Through the use of preventative tests, we will work intensively to find a way for people to attend events without distancing again," Zingler noted, "Solutions in which no distance is necessary must be found."