Football fans in Germany will return to the stadium for the first time since October on Saturday, when Berlin officials agreed to ban Kovid for 2,000 people for participating in the Union Berlin final game of the Bundesliga season against RB Leipzig. “Union Berlin has made an application, and we have decided in consultation with health officials that 2000 fans will be allowed to visit the stadium,” Martin Palgen, spokesman for the Berlin government’s sports department, told AFP’s subsidiary, SID.
The move allows season ticket holders to watch from the stand as the Berliners fight for a place in the Europa Conference League next year on the final day of the season.
In a statement on its website, the union said the “pilot event” would be allowed to proceed only if “the state of the epidemic allows”.
According to Pulgen, approval is conditional on Berlin’s seven-day incidence rate on fewer than 100 new cases per 100,000 people this week.
If infection rates remain low, fans who have recovered from Kovid-19, have been fully vaccinated or can provide an up-to-date negative test will be allowed at the Alte Forsteri Stadium, which usually But there are about 20,000 supporters.
Allotment of tickets among season-ticket holders will be done through lotteries, with supplies far exceeding the demand of the union’s well-known enthusiastic supporters.
Strict coronavirus restrictions have been in force since last autumn in Germany, and the Bundesliga stadiums have been empty since late October.
Yet with declining infection rates throughout Germany and the country’s immunization drive now firing on all cylinders, many states have taken cautious steps to open up the economy.
For the first time since October, outdoor dining will be allowed in Berlin from the following weekend, while coastal areas such as Schleswig-Holstein have been opened to tourists.
Yet the union will probably be the only top-flight club cheered on by its fans this weekend, with officials in Munich and the football-mad Western state of North-Rhine Westphalia refusing to return for supporters.
The Berlin club, which has been punching above its weight on the pitch this season, has been most active in its efforts to reopen to supporters.
Criticized last summer for announcing controversial plans to return the stadium to full capacity, he has since been one of the first clubs to conduct tests on journalists and club staff at closed games behind closed doors on match day.
Fans attending Saturday’s game will be able to receive a free rapid antigen test at the club’s own testing center, which was opened to the public last month at a site adjacent to the stadium.
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