Frankfurt fans get go ahead
When full the newly renamed Deutsche Bank Arena, home to Eintracht Frankfurt, is arguably the best atmosphere in the Bundesliga (don't just take our word for it, in a fan poll last season it was voted the best stadium by 25% of respondents, easily ahead of the competition). For obvious reasons it has had no one in it of late, however when the new season kicks off next weekend, the local authorities in the city have granted a license for 6,500 fans to attend games. This is less than the 11,275 which the club had petitioned for, but represents a major breakthrough and is now the largest number of fans at a game in the first round of Bundesliga games after the 8,000 which the Saxony state government has allowed to watch RB Leipzig. The standing area will be empty and only every fourth seat, both vertically and horizontally will be occupied. The 31,000 season ticket holders will have to apply for a ticket to each home game. Once they have been successful they will no longer be allowed to enter another draw until such aa time as everyone who has applied has seen a game. There will also be 50 places for disabled supporters and 750 VIP/hospitality passes. The club says that it cannot make any money on ticket sales of less than 10,000, which supports their application for slightly more. However it does represent an important step forward in the re-introduction of fans into sporting stadia. Right now it is the least worse option. Inevitably not everyone is happy and this includes the ultra fan groups of the club. One put out the following statement ”It won‘t surprise anyone to learn that we cannot accept Bundesliga games without supporters being able to stand, without away fans and having to hand over your personal data. Without having seen the concrete proposals we cannot comment, however our version of football looks different to this. It is clear that the top priority for the current football circus is that business must carry on...we have seen this over the last few months. Whoever enjoys taking part in this type of show, feel free to carry on. For us, this simply isn't an option.” In the current public health and subsequent political environment, the sense in being so black and white/all or nothing does the ultra fan groups little credit. It is hard to see what other options are available to the clubs and the politicians who are the ones making the decisions.