Bundesliga News

DFL accepts restrictions, amateur FAs suspend seasons, Berlin officials plant seeds of dissent

By Peter Vice

Professional sporting authorities in Germany reacted in varied ways to the Wednesday decision. The announcement that chancellor Angela Merkel and the heads of the Bundesrepublik's 16 federal states opted to ban all spectators from all sports venues through November understandably evoked passionate responses.

The head of Germany's handball league (HBL) criticized the politicians for a "symbolic decision taken in contrast to the facts". The boss of Germany's Basketball-Bundesliga (BBL) called the labelled the ban "baseless" and pointed out, "there are no technical or hygienic reasons for this."

For the time being, the DFB and DFL strike a more conciliatory tone. Statements issued by Germany's governing football bodies were more accepting. All German amateur footballing FAs also acceded to the the federal mandate to shut their seasons down.

In the German footballing world, dissent isn't overtly vocal yet. There have nevertheless been some stirrings from Berlin.

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A DFL statement released Wednesday evening reads: "There is no doubt that the worsening pandemic requires additional efforts in all walks of life."


With such a placating introduction, the association responsible for Germany's first and second professional footballing tiers segued into a "regrettable" intention to comply completely with the federally mandated shutdown that will ban all fans from all stadiums over the the next month. The DFB, responsible for Germany's third tier, also signaled acquiescence.

Germany's new federal standards also call for the cancellation of all amateur sporting events across the country. Accordingly, there shall be no action in the Bundesrepublik's five Regionalliga (fourth tier) or below until further notice.

The DFL did take the opportunity to emphasize the many successes professional clubs had implemented under the six-week-trial period governed by the 20-percent-capacity rule and expressed hope that the government would take this into consideration when making future policy.

"Based on this [the various hygiene concepts] fans and clubs have implemented hygiene and distance rules in a disciplined manner," the statement reads, "Almost without exception, all parties have adhered to the rules. It is thus regrettable that this is no longer possible."

Calling attention to the successes of the "fan plans" era, the organization specifically called upon politicians to consider the "positive effects" of all the efforts.


It remains obvious where the primary impetus for the reversal of these new measures will now come from. Opposition will emerge from the country's capital; the very city in which the decision was made.

The more progressive attitude of Berlin's political establishment will stand as the biggest dissenting voice during this next phase, indeed on all matters involving public life from football and concerts to bars and restaurants.

Officials in both Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf (the district responsible for overseeing Hertha BSC's fan concepts) and Treptow-Köpenick (the one overseeing 1. FC Union's implementations) have already issued separate statements of support for the work of the respective clubs.

Both health departments confirmed that no new cases of infection could be traced to the home fixture and praised the clubs/fans for carrying out the events responsibly.

While emphasizing this, district officials in both precincts also announced their intention to comply with the new federal mandate and a new Berlin ordinance limiting public gatherings to 300 individuals.


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