The clubs in the Bundesliga are serious: The maximum number of spectators is to be raised for the coming weekend – to this end, DFB Cup winners Borussia Dortmund, 1. FC Köln and Arminia Bielefeld announced a legal review of the measures on Monday , RB Leipzig had already done so on Saturday.
“The restrictions on outdoor sporting events associated with the current Corona Protection Ordinance of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia” are to be reviewed “by way of an urgent judicial procedure”, said BVB and FC.
The traditional club from the Revier announced that it intends to submit “an application for an interim order in the norm control procedure” to the Münster Higher Administrative Court on Tuesday. This is also what Arminia intends to do. Cologne wanted to submit a corresponding application at the same place on Monday evening.
“The next step,” said BVB boss Hans-Joachim Watzke, “is regrettable and the last resort for us. Ultimately, however, it is our job to protect Borussia Dortmund’s legitimate interests.”
BVB Stadium limited to 0.92 percent of total capacity
The Cologne club management said: “We assume that we can change the upper limit of 750 spectators for major events in North Rhine-Westphalia at short notice.” The goal is “to achieve adjustments in capacity utilization for the next home game against SC Freiburg”.
BVB also wants to achieve the same for the home game against Bayer Leverkusen. The current regulation, only allowing 750 fans in Dortmund’s Signal Iduna Park, which has a capacity of more than 80,000 spectators, is – according to the Black and Yellow – illegal. According to BVB, the restrictions “violated the principle of proportionality and the principle of equal treatment,” according to the football club.
The Dortmunders argue that events with a high percentage of occupancy rates could already be held nationwide in indoor areas “despite a comparatively higher risk of infection”. The capacity of the largest German open-air stadium – the Signal Iduna Park – is currently limited to 0.92 percent of the total capacity (81,365 spectators).
Donata Hopfen, the new managing director of the German Football League (DFL), has “understanding” for the clubs. “It’s like that, if you look at the numbers, football is worse off,” said the 45-year-old on Sky Sport. Hopfen expects politicians to “find a solution that everyone can use as a guide, especially if one can assume that it (the omicron wave; ed.) may even have reached its peak in 14 days.”
Cologne is also taking legal action against the upper limit
Dortmund and Cologne had so far hoped in vain to reach a new regulation in dialogue with politicians. BVB referred to concessions on the part of the respective state governments in Saxony-Anhalt, Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate. The hygiene concepts have proven themselves, according to Dortmund and Cologne in unison.
According to BVB, the accusation that a football game is a pandemic driver is not correct. Evaluations towards the end of last year, with a stadium capacity of 18 percent (15,000 spectators), clearly showed “that the majority of spectators, also for reasons of caution, drive their own car (10,000 parking spaces are available), cycle or walk ” had arrived. Arminia, whose stadium is in the middle of the city, argued similarly.
The FC added: “Beyond the legal review, 1. FC Köln remains very interested in a dialogue for fair and responsible opening perspectives.”