Union has a plan for getting fans back in the stadium

The Bundesliga club has asked the health department for approval to play a friendly in front of 3,000 fans in early September.

If goalkeeper Andreas Luthe saves a goal but nobody is there to see it then did he save a goal at all?
If goalkeeper Andreas Luthe saves a goal but nobody is there to see it then did he save a goal at all?Imago Images

Berlin-First-league footballers 1. FC Union aren’t yet giving up on plans to eventually return to matches in front of sold-out crowds, and have sent in an application to the Treptow-Köpenick health authorities for permission to play a friendly on 5 September in front of 3,000 spectators.

Under the new hygiene plan, the fans would be tested for corona on their way into the stadium in hopes of doing away with distance regulations, both for the 5 September game as well as future matches with even larger crowds.

“We are not primarily concerned with football matches in this project, even if these are the most common form of major event in our specific case,” Union President Dirk Zingler said. The club wants to help develop alternative approaches to group events amid the pandemic, he said.

In July, the team unveiled a similar testing plan that it hoped would allow it to fill its 22,000-seat Alte Försterei stadium in Köpenick when the Bundesliga season starts on 18 September. The club has said distancing requirements don’t fit with its expectations of professional soccer matches as well as many other events in Berlin.

The owners of other professional clubs so far haven’t agreed and early this month instead voted to eliminate standing-room only tickets as well as the sale of alcohol at first- and second-league games until at least November.

“We don’t question the goal of a full stadium. The way to get there is through intermediate steps. For us, it’s important to finally take the first step,” Zingler said in a statement.

For more info: www.fc-union-berlin.de/en/