When will football fans return to stadiums? UK, Europe & US plans
As leagues around the world restart their seasons following the severe disruption due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, a slow return to normality has begun with games coming back - but it might be a long while before we see stadiums at full capacity.
But when can supporters expect to watch games live and in person again?
There has been no official guidance on when clubs will welcome supporters back to the stadium in the UK.
Premier League medical advisor Mark Gillett stated that games would be forced to be played behind closed doors for up to a year, saying:“It’s very clear the public and social health situation is not going to change in the next six to 12 months."
With the UK having the worst Covid-19 death toll in Europe in May, opening stadiums up to fans - with games being a viral hotbed - would no doubt worsen the public health situation.
Supporters should be braced to watch games from their own homes for up to 12 months, and potentially beyond that.
According to Sky Sports however, the Premier League could introduce a system for the 2020-21 season that will allow fans who have tested negatively for Covid-19 to enter stadiums.
The report states that the Premier Leaguecould use a 'digital health passport' next season, created by the company administering testing programmes for the clubs, to linktesting history to a person'smobile phone - with individuals testing negative using a QR Code on their device to enter the ground.
UEFA presidentAleksander Ceferinhas givena more positive verdict, saying that he predicts supporters will be able to be allowed back into the stadiums sooner rather than later.
Speaking to the Guardian, Ceferin said: “It’s a serious situation but it is going down now and we are being more cautious.
“We know more about the virus and in general I’m an optimistic person.
“We are ready and we will follow the recommendations of the authorities but I’m absolutely sure, personally, that good old football with fans will come back very soon.”
The situation for fans in Germany might be a bit more positive.
The Bundesliga were the first major European league to restart their season following the Covid-19 outbreak, resuming their campaign on May 16 after passing safety protocols.
Bayer Leverkusen sporting directorSimon Rolfes credited Germany's health care system for allowing the Bundesliga to return smoothly, while Bayern chairmanKarl-Heinz Rummenigge thanked the efforts of the country's politicians who tested aggressively nationwideand administered a vigorous test-and-trace regime to contain the virus.
“We can be the first to start again because of our health care system,” Rolfes said viathe New York Times. “We are thankful to have the opportunity.”
"We have to say thank you to our politicians,” said Rummenigge.
On July 10, it was announced that theGerman Football League (DFL) would be collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Health for the possibility of fans returning to the stadiums in the Bundesliga, stating that there arecurrently talks "to discuss conditions and framework for a possible re-admission of visitors".
The ministry added that "compliance with infection protection standards" would be a prerequisite to the public being invited to football games again, with the possibility of partial admission of spectators - with everything having to be pre-approved by the local health authorities.
With the United States continuing to be the worst-hit country in the world, passing three million cases in early July and the country's daily Covid-19 numbers regularly hitting record highs, it is unlikely that stadiums will allow fans back at full capacity soon.
However,NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent stated that they plan to see crowds back at football games as early as this autumn.
“We’re planning for full stadiums,” Vincent told NBC Sports, “until the medical community tells us otherwise. Now, remember when we’re talking. We’re talking about September...August, September. So, there’s a lot that can happen here. So, we’re planning for full stadiums.”
The NFL's Baltimore Ravens announced in early Julythat they plan to allow less than 14,000 fans to attend any home gameat M&T Bank Stadium in 2020, if the situation even allows for fans to go to games.
It is a small portionof the62,000-capacity stadium.
"To offer a proper level of safety for fans who want to attend games, a reduction in capacity is necessary," Ravens president Dick Cass said.
"We are disappointed that this will be a disruption for many ticket buyers, but we have an obligation to our fans and our community to keep M&T Bank Stadium as safe as possible."
Source : goal.com
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