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Bundesliga intensifies fight against audience limit



RB Leipzig is the first Bundesliga club to take legal action against the audience limit.

RB Leipzig is the first Bundesliga club to take legal action against the audience limit. The procedure is representative of an increasing confrontational course of the clubs against politics.

Patience is exhausted, the time for friendly dialogue is over, the Bundesliga is on a confrontational course with politics: the almost complete exclusion of spectators in German stadiums becomes a case for the judiciary. RB Leipzig is the first Bundesliga club to take legal action against the upper limit – and could have given the starting signal for a wave of lawsuits.

The Saxons, who are currently only allowed to welcome 1000 fans in the Red Bull Arena, have applied to the Saxon Higher Administrative Court in Bautzen for a temporary injunction to be issued in summary proceedings. It is hoped that in this way “a decision that is factually fair, justified and understandable for all sides and at the same time a solution” can be obtained with regard to the current extreme restriction on spectators at home games.

The step seems out of place given the tense corona situation. On Saturday, when RB communicated the application, the Germany-wide incidence was 1127.7. It rose to a record 1156.8 on Sunday. RB’s next home game is on February 11 against 1. FC Köln.

The clubs are countering the high number of cases with extensive hygiene concepts, which include the obligation to wear masks or the 2G Plus rule.

Watzke criticizes “symbol politics”

Nevertheless, politicians had recently decided against easing the upper limits for viewers nationwide.

Among others, Hans-Joachim Watzke, as managing director of DFB Cup winners Borussia Dortmund, criticized it heavily. The future chairman of the supervisory board of the German Football League (DFL) spoke again of “symbolic politics” at the expense of the sports clubs.

In a European comparison, the Bundesliga is affected by more far-reaching measures. In the English Premier League, despite the high number of cases, it is currently possible to play at full capacity, in Spain the stadiums can be used up to 75 percent, in Italy at least 50 percent.

The high costs of the pandemic are likely to have prompted RB to go to court. It is known that the pandemic has hit many in the country hard, said managing director Oliver Mintzlaff in the picture interview.

But: “Despite a minus of over 60 million euros in the past two years, we have had a lot of understanding for political decisions. But now the point is where every German citizen, every entrepreneur and every Bundesliga club can expect pragmatic, logical and understandable decisions .”

RB Leipzig: Will the NRW clubs follow?

Other clubs could follow the Leipzig example. In North Rhine-Westphalia in particular, the anger against the quasi-ban on viewers is great. According to the special rules in Bavaria (up to 10,000 fans) and Baden-Württemberg (up to 6,000 spectators), however, there is a risk of an even larger patchwork quilt in legal proceedings.

A general forecast of the chances of success is difficult. The respective Corona Protection Ordinance of the federal states is decisive. RB Leipzig will have explored his chances.