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By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

End of the incidence rate? Berliner Senate backs Union's plans for fans

The question as to whether Germany's incidence rate will continue to govern public events held in the country hasn't been fully answered yet. 

It has nevertheless been confirmed that rising infection rates will not affect 1. FC Union Berlin's plans to host 11,000 fans this weekend. 
Responding to an enquiry from German footballing magazine Kicker, the Senate in Germany's capital city confirmed that Union Berlin will be able to proceed with plans to allow in slightly over 11,000 spectators at the Stadion an der Alten Försterei on Saturday.

For much of the pandemic, large scale public events in Germany have been governed by the stabilizing metric set by the country's public health ministry. The Robert Koch Institut (RKI) stabilizer imposes restrictions on local events if the local incidence rate exceeds 35 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants over a seven-day-period.

In theory, this is supposed to still apply as German football clubs prepare to operate at 50 percent capacity (with a cap of 25,000 live fans) in their stadiums this autumn. In practice, there have been multiple calls from German footballing administrators to retire this standard.

In a possible benchmark case in Frankfurt, the city's SGE threatened to take state administrators to court until Hessen authorities ultimately backed down.

On Monday, officials in the Berliner Senate effectively confirmed that the incident rate in the city does not matter. Berlin currently averages 38 infections per 100,000 inhabitants.

The number has been slowly climbing over the weekend. Spokespersons at the department of the Interior and Sport said Union had been granted exemption for both home games in August.

"The 35 incidence rate does not apply," the department explained, "Union has submitted a very good hygiene concept. The coupling of the limit to the incidence rate has been suspended."

As of yet, there is no word about any possible suspension for cross-town club Hertha BSC. Union will also play in Hertha's Olympiastadion on August 26th as hosts of the UEFA Europa Conference League Playoff.

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