Europe : the public stages will still have to wait

Europe : le public des stades devra encore patienter

Europe : le public des stades devra encore patienter

The championship of the Bundesliga resumed in Germany, but in the stadiums empty.


June 15, 2020 9h08


Europe : the public stages will still have to wait

Jeremy Talbot

Agence France-Presse

PARIS — bring back the supporters in the soccer stadiums ? The idea in germ is already one of the major championships in Europe to turn the page of the “sad” animations that populate the stands closed. But the caution is in facing the virus.

“I dream of being able to see the world stage, rather than a sad cardboard boxes. But we have responsibilities and we must be more cautious as possible,” recently summed up the Italian Carlo Sibilia, secretary of State for the Interior.

In the Boot, as in Germany and in Spain, the matches resumed in front of the bays empty, or nearly so, some clubs have displayed effigies of supporters to fill their absence. Broadcasters have also chosen to spread the songs pre-recorded to erase the silence chilling.

These devices have generated “a feeling of rejection very strong” in Germany, ” says Ronan Evain managing director of the network Football Supporters Europe (FSE), based in Hamburg. “If you have to play behind closed doors or with gauges reduced, that it was done, but that it is not put in place a cache-sex to forget that we are still in a health crisis,” he told AFP.

If the stands were again filled in Serbia, which are authorized gatherings in the open air, or during a game of rugby in New Zealand, largely untouched by the pandemic (only 22 deaths), the european championships are cautious and patient about the return of the fans, as they all hope.

In a letter sent to the clubs, revealed by Kicker, the German League (DFL) does not mention at all the end of the current season, but next. Discussions have been initiated to “allow the return step-by-step of the spectators,” says its managing director Christian Seifert, requesting, however, to the clubs “not to quote publicly any figures or any date without the need of certainty”.

Difference between regions

In Spain, where the championship has just resumed, the League and some clubs are pushing for a return to the public before the end of June. This is the case of Las Palmas (D2 Spanish) and Celta Vigo (Liga) that are evolving in areas which are not affected by the disease.

“After ten or fifteen days of competition, we will sit down with the government to request that the public could go back in stadiums”, has rebounded as the chairman of LaLiga, Javier Tebas, the day of resumption. It would be a “sign of a return to the normalcy of abnormal”, according to him.

For the time being, the authorities maintain that such a scenario will not happen before that all the regions of Spain are not at the same level of déconfinement. “The playing conditions should be the same in all stages,” said Salvador Illa, the minister of Health.

In Italy, also very hard hit by the pandemic COVID-19, the music is somewhat different.

“In areas where for several days the new cases are zero, we can start thinking of a progressive reopening of the stages with a limited number of spectators”, thus releasing Walter Ricciardi, an adviser to the government and former president of the Higher Institute of Health.

“Absolute security”

If the football has taken over, via the Italian Cup last Friday, it is not intended to repopulate the stands before “August or beginning of September”, however, has warned Carlo Sibilia.

“Imagine 10 000 people who have to pass through the entrances of the stadium San Paolo (Naples, editor’s note), this would be a little complicated. This does not mean that we do not talk about, but it is necessary to the security of the most absolute”, has hammered the secretary of State for the Interior, well aware that “football is worth less without the tifosi adores and passion”.

In Hungary, the shouts and applause have already begun to be heard in the speakers of the countries of central Europe, where only people under the age of 65 years are prohibited access.

“Not being able to greet friends as usual I missed, like the fact that the supporters of the older are not there because of restrictions,” says Peter Molnar, a subscriber of Ferencváros happy nevertheless to have set foot in the stadium of Budapest.

If the mask is not mandatory, spectators must wash hands at the entrance and let the three empty seats between each person. “Overall, the fans have respected the rules”, told AFP the Hungarian, 33 years of age. With the european offices of the AFP

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