With six soccer matches to be held behind closed doors, Germany’s Bundesliga Saturday became the first of the major European leagues to restart their activities amid the pandemic.
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The health protocol mandates that each soccer match must limit assistants to 98 people: 22 players, 18 substitutes on the bench, 5 referees, 20 assistants, 4 ball-throwers, 3 cleaning people, 3 photographers, 4 nurses, 4 security people, and 15 technicians for TV signal.
The teams will arrive at the stadium separately. In the looker-rooms, players must wear a mask, keep 1.5 meters from each other, and can only be together for about 40 minutes.
The return of soccer matches in Germany puts the leaders of the world's leagues in check. Also, sports entrepreneurs are likely to put even more pressure on health authorities to relax prevention regulations, as Argentina's outlet La Capital commented.
The attitude that citizens adopt, however, is difficult to foresee. The Berlin-based research institute Infratest Dimap (ID) presented the results of a survey according to which 56 percent of Germans were against the restart of sporting events on Saturday.
The local authorities and police also expressed their concern about the consequences that the Bundesliga could cause outside the sports fields.
The North Rhine-Westphalia Police Union (GdP), for instance, has been critical of any restart, for "they're concerned about fan gatherings near stadiums, in front of the team hotels, or somewhere else in the city centers," local outlet DW explained.
"We still know far too little how to stop the coronavirus. But we know that ghost games can also attract thousands of soccer fans," the GdP Deputy Chairman Michael Maatz said.
The ID survey also showed that the relief from COVID-19 restrictive measures was applauded by 63 percent of supporters of the right-wing Liberal Democratic Party (FDP) and by 61 percent of those who support the far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD).