In a move that may set precedent across the Bundesrepublik, 1. FC Köln announced that fans unable to demonstrate proof of either vaccination or recovery will be unable to attend home fixtures after the season opener.
|RheinEnergieStadion.||Photo: CEphoto, Uwe Aranas|
Köln became the first German Bundesliga club to adopt a strict no-admittance policy for supporters neither vaccinated nor recovered on Friday. The exacting regulations will be adopted after the club's home opener against Hertha BSC next weekend. For the next home match against VfL Bochum on August 28th, only the vaccinated and recovered will be allowed through the turnstiles.
For the time being, entrance to sporting venues in Germany remains governed by the so-called "3G" concept:
"Geimpft" (vaccinated), "Genesen" (recovered), "Getestet" (tested).
German footballing fans wishing to attend a match must provide either proof of vaccination/recovery or submit to a rapid PCR test for the novel coronavirus. Most German football clubs are only reserving a small amount of seats for those not bringing documentation of the first two criteria.
Köln is no exception. Some 16,500 will attend the opening matchday fixture at the RheinEnergieStadion next Sunday. Of these, only 1,000 will be admitted through the test criterion. After next weekend's match, that number shall be zero.
The announcement is sure to spark controversy in Germany, where a portion of the population does not wish to be vaccinated and claims that their civil liberties are being violated. Though--according to a recent survey by the Süddeutsche Zeitung--nearly 80 percent of the citizenry either wishes to get vaccinated or remains amenable to it, there have been protests across the country this week.
In announcing their new policy, Köln also announced that it would offer free vaccinations to any fans who care for them on matchdays. Supporters may even have their choice of either the "BionTech" or "Johnson & Johnson" vaccine.