Crisis – Empty arenas: Top leagues must hold off with spectator plans

Berlin (dpa) – The renewed ban on major events is putting German sport even more in trouble.

The fact that, following the decision of Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and the heads of state, a working group should not decide on the re-entry of a larger audience until the end of October, probably has filled the hopes of the top leagues at the start of the season. fail.

The ongoing uncertainty in the corona pandemic makes it difficult to form federations and clubs. “If we constantly get new preconditions, then we work in the void. I would like to see a different communication and that we also get more reliability,” said Frank Bohmann, general manager of the Handball Bundesliga (HBL) of the German news agency. .

Instead of quickly smuggling thousands of fans back into the arenas thanks to sophisticated hygiene concepts, the creators of the major game classes are waiting for another patience. Alfons Hörmann, president of the German Olympic Sports Federation (DOSB), warned that “any extension of restrictions in sport is a growing threat to clubs, associations, leagues and organizers and thus to the diversity of sporting Germany”.

This is the state of affairs in the top leagues:

FOOTBALL: The German national players will have to play in front of largely empty stands in early September, as will the teams in the first round of the DFB Cup. And for the Bundesliga, the picture will not really change at the start of the season on September 18. The German football league wants to convince politicians with a coherent hygiene concept and safe contact tracking, for example via personalized tickets. But no uniform national regulation for the return of viewers is expected before the end of October. Only then could the working group agree on “small, step-by-step options,” said Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder. “There is already a perspective, but not that the stadiums will all be full again,” said the CSU boss.

HANDBALL: The Bundesliga actually wants to start playing again on October 1, and champions THW Kiel and number two SG Flensburg-Handewitt will play for the Supercup in Düsseldorf on September 26. The competition had assumed that it could plan again with spectators in the halls. The latest demands from Kiel and Flensburg to postpone the start until January and to cancel the World Cup in Egypt, the association and front runners had clearly rejected. But now the politicians’ decision is calling the plans into question. Up to 50 percent of the club’s budget comes from audience revenue. “If no spectators are allowed in by the end of the year, the very existence of our sport could be in danger,” warned Jennifer Kettemann, director of Rhein-Neckar Löwen.

ICE HOCKEY: The German Ice Hockey League had already postponed the start date for the new season from mid-September to November 13. The game operations must be “economically viable” for the clubs, said DEL director Gernot Tripcke. In other words, it only works with spectators. Until September, the league had demanded a clear perspective from politicians for the further planning of the season. New guidelines from the working group at the end of October would probably come too late for the DEL to organize the competition start two weeks later at short notice. “We will consult with the clubs and within the committees as soon as possible,” said a DEL spokesperson.

BASKETBALL: The picture for the Bundesliga basketball will be similar to that of ice hockey when the season starts on November 6. BBL will hardly be able to wait for the specifications of the working group to make further decisions about the start of the season. Hygiene concepts must be developed by each club and approved by the responsible health department. The clubs must also plan for high-quality TV broadcasts of possible matches without spectators. This emergency option, already used at the championship tournament in Munich, could also be needed at the start of the season.

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