Monday January 17, 2022

Bavarian PM wants to ban fans at Bayern, other stadiums

Published : 01 Dec 2021, 23:57

  By Christoph Trost, dpa

Markus Soeder, Minister President of Bavaria. File Photo: Felix Hörhager/dpa.

Bavaria's state premier Markus Soeder wants to enforce football matches behind closed doors until the end of the year as coronavirus cases rise in Germany.

Caretaker German Chancellor Angela Merkel and designated successor Olaf Scholz discussed the crisis with the state premiers by telephone on Tuesday.

Different rules are in force in different states and there seems to have been no formal change given a statement from Soeder after the call.

"When Christmas markets are closed, it is not coherent to have full stadiums," the politician said.

Markets are closed in Bavaria but not yet in Berlin, for example.

"We want to propose the following: Until the end of the year, we should do without spectators in the professional leagues," Soeder added.

"We will try to implement this again throughout Germany, but we would also do it alone in Bavaria at this point."

In Saxony, where RB Leipzig are based, fans are already banned again like they were across Germany during the first and second waves. But Cologne had 50,000 fans last weekend in the derby against Borussia Moenchengladbach.

"Everyone agrees that something has to happen with football," Soeder said, adding that the situation could be reviewed after the Bundesliga's mid-season break in late December and early January.

He said all state premiers agree the number of fans needs to be reduced with the Omicron variant now loose and that some favour his idea of no spectators at all.

Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich take on Borussia Dortmund in a title battle on Saturday but the game is in Dortmund, where North-Rhine Westphalia's politicians are also mulling the situation. Coronavirus cases though are higher in Bavaria in the south than the north-western state.

Since last Wednesday, Bavarian football stadiums such as Bayern's had been subject to a maximum 25 per cent occupancy limit. Only vaccinated or recovered fans could gain access and must also have tested negative.