When football is gradually resumed in Europe, the question of returning supporters to the stadiums is already being asked. But for the moment, the camera seems to be a rule that is always crucial to most continental championships.
Supporters back at football stadiums soon? The idea already springs up among the major European football championships to turn the page on the “sad” animations, which populate the stands behind closed doors. But caution remains against the virus.
“I dream of being able to see people in the stadium rather than sad boxes. But we have responsibility and we have to be as careful as possible,” summed up Italian Interior Minister Carlo Sibilia recently.
In Boot, as in Germany and Spain, the matches resumed in front of empty bays or almost, where some clubs showed challenges of supporters to fill their absence. The transmitters have also chosen to broadcast pre-recorded songs to erase the freezing silence.
Palliative measures that did not convince
These units have generated “a very strong sense of rejection” in Germany, says Ronan Evain, CEO of the Football Supporters Europe (FSE) network, based in Hamburg. “If it is necessary to play behind closed doors or with reduced gauges, that we do, but that we do not put up a strap to make people forget that we are still in a health crisis,” he told AFP.
If the places have been filled again in Serbia, where outdoor gatherings are allowed, or during a rugby match in New Zealand, largely spared by the pandemic (only 22 deaths), the European Championships are cautious and patient about the return of the supporters, which they all hope for.
In a letter sent to clubs, revealed by Kicker, the German league (DFL) does not mention the end of the current season, but the next. Discussions have been launched to “allow the spectators to return step by step,” says its director Christian Seifert, but asks the clubs “to quote no figures or dates publicly without being sure.”
In Spain, where the championship has just resumed, the league and some clubs are already pushing to return to the public before the end of June. This is the case with Las Palmas (Spanish D2) and Celta Vigo (Liga) which operate in regions that are slightly affected by the disease.
Discussions already underway in La Liga
“After ten or fifteen days of competition, we will sit down with the government to demand that the public be able to return to the arenas,” La Liga president Javier Tebas recalled the day for the reboot. It would be “a sign of a return to this ‘abnormal normality'”, according to him.
At the moment, the authorities claim that such a scenario will not occur until all regions of Spain are at the same level of deconfinance. “The playing conditions must be the same at all stadiums,” said Salvador Illa, the health minister.
In Italy, also very badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, the music is slightly different.
“In those regions where the new cases have been at zero for several days, we can begin to think of a gradual reopening of the stadiums with a limited number of spectators,” said Walter Ricciardi, government adviser and former president of the Higher Institute of Health.
In Italy, “absolute security” must take precedence
If football resumes via the Italian Cup last Friday, there are no plans to rebuild the stands before “August or early September”, however, Carlo Sibilia warned.
“Imagine 10,000 people having to walk through the entrances to the San Paolo Stadium (from Naples, note), that would be a little complicated. That doesn’t mean we don’t talk about it, but we need the utmost security.” , the interior minister insisted, well aware that “football is worth less without typhoid and their passion”.
In Hungary, cries and applause have already begun to clear in the areas of the Central European country, where only people over 65 remain barred.
“I missed being able to greet the friends as usual, as well as the fact that the older supporters were not there due to the restrictions,” said Peter Molnar, a subscriber to Ferencváros who was still happy to have left his feet in the Budapest stadium.
If the mask is not compulsory, spectators must wash their hands at the entrance and leave three empty spaces between each person. “On the whole, the supporters respected the rules,” the 33-year-old Hungary told AFP.