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Geisterspiele: a threat to Bundesliga’s smaller clubs

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Studies suggest that the absence of fans inside stadiums is a bigger disadvantage for smaller clubs than it is for financially stable clubs.

FC Bayern Munich v FC Sevilla: UEFA Super Cup 2020 Photo by Mateo Villalba/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Almost a year ago, among many other leagues, the Bundesliga was suspended due to an increase in the spread of coronavirus across Europe. People spent months frustrated about the absence of live sports and when the tournaments finally restarted, fans were not allowed inside stadiums.

In an interview given to Augsburger Allgemeine, Martin Lames — professor of Training Science and Sports Informatics at Technische Universität München – discussed how the ghost games affect different Bundesliga teams and how bigger clubs including Bayern Munich can benefit from that. According to him, the Geisterspiele adds to the already existing imbalance in the league: the financially bigger teams are winning even more often now.

He said (via AZ), “It has been proven how fans strengthen their home team; we can regard this connection as established in sports science. Inferior teams need this extra support in order to win despite their lower competitive capability.”

FC Bayern Munich v FC Sevilla: UEFA Super Cup 2020 Photo by Roland Krivec/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

“With respect to the financial differences in the league, the absence of spectators is fatal,” added Lames.

Lames also mentioned that there should be uniformity across the league when reopening the stadiums and there should only be one rulebook for all the clubs. Anything other than that could make things hard for certain clubs. He said, “It would be very unfair and also detrimental for the Bundesliga if individual teams benefited from looser coronavirus rules. For an eventual opening of the stadiums to fans, a united and uniform solution for the entire Bundesliga must be found.”

A study conducted by an Austrian organisation has noted that ghost games have resulted in a higher number of goals and fewer disputes between players or with the match officials.