Cup – David versus Goliath completely different: amateur clubs in conflict

Frankfurt / Main (dpa) – No home edge and lots of trouble: The Corona crisis has ruined expectations of the high of the year for the amateur kickers.

“The DFB-Pokal thrives on the stories and emotions that have inspired fans across Germany for decades, especially in the first round of matches between amateurs and professionals,” said DFB Vice President Peter Frymuth of the German news agency. “Of course, some of this special attraction is missing this season due to the partial abandonment of spectators and home base exchanges.”

Eleven lower regional or upper league teams will relinquish their house rights against professional clubs in the first round matches this weekend. Organisationally and financially, the clubs were simply overwhelmed because they had to provide adequate logistics for a TV broadcast, adequate security personnel and adhere to the strict hygiene concept in the home stadium.

“The demands for amateur clubs have always been enormous. Corona still makes a big difference,” says Stefan Cohrs, head of the fifth division MTV Eintracht Celle. Hosting a cup match costs the amateur clubs at least 30,000 to 35,000 euros, he calculated. “The financial risk would have been too great for us,” Cohrs said. For their cup premiere, the Lower Saxony prefers to take the tiring bus tour to Bavaria to the Bundesliga club FC Augsburg – with a round trip that is more than 1250 kilometers. The costs with overnight stay: 6000 euros.

It is especially difficult for the underdogs, who are in the DFB Cup for the first time in their club history. Under normal circumstances, the debut in the lucrative league would be an unforgettable holiday for the little ones – now teams like FSV Union Fürstenwalde (at VfL Wolfsburg), VSG Altglienicke (at 1. FC Köln) or FV Engers (at VfL Bochum) play in large stadiums in front of almost empty stands.

In the case of the winners of the Rhineland Cup, the situation was further complicated as Engers does not have a suitable stadium to hold a DFB Cup match. Therefore, the Fifth Division should have moved from a district of Neuwied to Koblenz. “With 350 spectators and a budget of tens of thousands of euros, the greatest sports success in the history of our club would have created an incalculable risk for us,” said club president Martin Hahn, justifying the waiver of the home right.

For this season, the DFB’s executive committee had explicitly created the possibility of avoiding burdens that are difficult for amateurs to calculate. “We are pleased to still be able to keep the league in this special situation and hope that we will soon be able to see cup games again under near-normal conditions, so that the league regains its usual appeal,” said DFB Vice Frymuth.

But not all amateur clubs want the unique cup experience to be ruined by the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. The Schleswig-Holstein cup winner, SV Todesfelde, fought stubbornly and eventually successfully to play the match against second division VfL Osnabrück in the home sports park. “We are very pleased that the DFB and everyone else involved have placed our confidence in hosting such a match in Todesfelde,” said team manager Timo Gothmann. “I am especially happy for the team that can now play the biggest game in the club’s history in their living room.”

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