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German FA boss hopes up to 1,000 fans allowed to watch cup final in stadium

Berlin (AFP) – The head of the German football association (DFB) hopes a crowd of up to 1,000 fans could be allowed to watch the national cup final live in July, which would make it the first match in Germany to welcome back spectators.

Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, which traditionally hosts the German Cup final, has a capacity of 75,000 but all football matches have been played behind closed doors since the German league resumed in mid-May.

The numbers allowed into grounds are limited to playing staff, coaches, club officials, media and match officials with fans locked out.

However, when Bayern Munich play Bayer Leverkusen on July 4 in the national cup final, the president of the German Football Association (DFB) Fritz Keller hopes 1,000 fans can be allowed in.

“The legislators will decide. In Berlin, events up to 1,000 spectators are allowed. If the Senate says yes, we can do it, then we’ll let 1,000 in,” Keller told national broadcaster ARD.

“Talks have already been held with those responsible at the Berlin Senate.”

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government wants to ban events with large crowds until at least the end of October over fears of renewed transmission of the coronavirus, according to an official draft seen by AFP.

However, football stadiums and other sports events could be subject to an exception and allowed to admit limited number of fans, but the subject is under discussion.

Fritz said the German FA does not expect special dispensation to permit fans to again fill up stadiums before other large events are allowed.

“There was a clear announcement (from the government) that there is no special position for football. And I’m okay with that,” said Fritz. “Football doesn’t need special treatment.” 

However, a Hamburg-based virologist says even a tiny crowd of 1,000 fans in the cavernous Olympic Stadium would be too many.

“You have to limit the number of spectators,” said scientist Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit.

“I think a figure in the low three-digit range could definitely be implemented.

“The danger is that there will be ‘a superspreading’ at an event, where an unidentified infected person in the stadium can infect hundreds of people in those two hours.”

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