As UEFA seems poised to postpone Euro 2020 and suspend all UEFA Champions League matches, and other top European leagues are being postponed indefinitely, fans across Germany have expressed their frustration with games being set to be played behind closed doors due to fears of COVID-19.
Bayern Munich’s own ultras released a statement on their platform Suedkurve-Muenchen earlier today criticizing the idea of “ghost games,” games played without fans. They would prefer it if the DFL and DFB decided to suspend games until the spread of the virus is checked.
The ultras argue that it is wrong to take away the social dynamic of the experience of going to a football match from fans who continuously make sacrifices to follow their team. They also argue that ghost games are inherently unfair to smaller clubs:
For years, many fans have been making sacrifices, both of money and time, in order to follow their beloved club everywhere. This possibility is now being taken from us; the clubs are losing their income and the teams their fans’ support in the decisive phase of the season. Football without fans is worthless! There also is a lack of solidarity in current proceedings with respect to the clubs. Clubs like ours can compensate the loss of spectator income significantly more easily and will therefore enjoy a competitive advantage over smaller clubs in the end.
Since two players from Hannover 96 and one player from Juventus have already tested positive for the virus, a suspension of play looks inevitable at this point. Waiting too long to do so could prove to be detrimental to the health and safety of players and staff members for clubs across Europe.
Are “ghost games” even helping?
Suedkurve Muenchen also argued that “ghost games” doesn’t work as intended anyway. Holding games behind closed doors has not stopped thousands of fans from showing up just outside soccer venues to support their respective sides:
We would like to draw attention to the fact that all the measures are already being reduced to absurdity when fans gather outside the stadium, as for instance in Valencia this week before their game against Atalanta Bergamo or in Paris for their game against Borussia Dortmund.
Madness broke out outside the Parc de Princes after PSG defeated Dortmund 2-0 and advanced to the quarter-finals in the Champions League: