Berlin (AFP) – Bayern Munich boss Karl-Heinz Rummenigge insists the German giants are eager to stop Thursday’s UEFA Super Cup showdown in Budapest turning into a super spreader event due to a high infection rate of the coronavirus there.
On Monday, Bavaria’s premier minister Markus Soeder warned against the match in Budapest becoming a “football-Ischgl”, referring to the Austrian ski resort where thousands of holidaymakers were infected with the virus at the beginning of the pandemic in Europe.
Soeder added that amid the pandemic “I really get a stomach ache when it comes to the Super Cup” between Bayern and Europa League holders Sevilla in Budapest.
Rummenigge echoed Soeder’s comments on Wednesday, insisting Bayern Munich have “every interest in ensuring that no Ischgl of football takes place” in Budapest.
“I think everyone’s stomachs are churning. The game will take place in a city with an rate of infection of over 100 (per 100,000 inhabitants), which is twice as high as that in Munich,” Rummenigge told broadcaster ZDF.
“That has to be taken seriously.”
Up to 20,000 spectators would be allowed by UEFA into Budapest’s Puskas Arena in a piloting project to test the return of fans into stadiums.
However, Budapest’s mayor Gergely Karacsony wants the game played without fans.
“If I had the legal means to decide that, I would let the game take place behind closed doors,” he told Hungarian newspaper Nepszava.
Rummenigge anticipates “less than a thousand” Bayern fans will actually make the journey and only around 500 Sevilla fans are expected.
“We have a great interest that they come back healthy and that nobody in Budapest gets infected,” emphasised Rummenigge.
He has promised a “serious and disciplined” approach with both Bayern and Sevilla offering travelling fans Covid-19 tests.
The Bayern chief also pointed out that to “all those who say that you really have to be extremely careful with the subject. We are”.
Bayern initially had an allocation of 4,500 tickets but hundreds of fans opted not to travel after the German government declared Budapest a risk zone.
European champions Bayern are also flying to Budapest with a small delegation of officials after being heavily criticised when a group of senior figures sat bunched together in the stands for Friday’s 8-0 rout of Schalke.
Rummenigge was among the group not wearing masks and seated close together in the VIP stand for the opening game of the new Bundesliga season.
“At the next game we will keep the desired distance and wear masks, no problem,” said the 64-year-old.
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