When the Bundesliga returned, the Geisterspiele admittedly took some getting used to, but having football back after a two month hiatus was a much welcomed delight. T.V broadcasting companies have experimented with pre-recorded, built in crowd audio for some matches, which has been met with its fair share of criticism as a lot of people seem to prefer being able to hear the shouts from players and coaches. Still, Bundesliga football hasn’t been the same without the presence of fans, but Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge feels that at least some fans in stadiums might be possible before the season concludes.
Speaking to Bayern’s official German-language podcast (via Az), Rummenigge said he thinks there could be a way to gradually fill stadiums “in stages.” Obviously, a number of the grounds in the Bundesliga hold capacities upwards of 70,000 fans, so filling venues is entirely out of the question right now, but Rummenigge sees a possibility to have stages of fans let back in under strict security and medical guidelines: “With high probability, we will not be allowed the fill the stadium with 75,000 people immediately. It is perhaps possible, however, that we can slowly begin again under certain security and medical conditions.”
Of course, the DFL has been incredibly proactive in responding to the corona crisis, which has greatly helped the Bundesliga, 2. Liga, 3. Liga and Frauen Bundesliga be able to resume action. The blueprint for proper screening and monitoring of virus cases is there and can be utilized to allow a fraction of fans inside the stadiums. Rummenigge revealed that Bayern’s front office and board has already done some virtual planning on the matter for the Allianz Arena: “We just did some brainstorming virtually and arrived at a maximum capacity of approximately 11,000 or 12,000. That would mean: where I sit, nobody is sitting to the left, right, in front, or behind me.”
Naturally, there’s a concern as to how well the fans inside the stadiums would respect the distancing guidelines in place. There’s always a risk that a small majority of supporters may decide to not follow them. With the raw, genuine emotion involved in football, expressing said emotions can become increasingly difficult to contain, as we saw with some of the goal celebrations in the first match week of the league’s restart. Rummenigge admitted this is the one area they’ve really had to look at closely to try and come up with the best preventative maintenance: “Soccer is an emotional game, and when a goal is scored, fans hugged and cheered. And that is the big question, how you organize it so that we stay disciplined despite the emotionality.”