Fan group, Bavarian premier slam Leipzig fan return as league meets

German supporter organization Unsere Kurve and Bavarian state premier Markus Soeder have criticized plans which would allow RB Leipzig to let in 8,500 fans for the new Bundesliga season.

The German Football League is holding a videoconference on Thursday to discuss the season, which starts on September 18, and the situation with fans.

Games were played behind closed doors when last season resumed from a coronavirus hiatus in May and June. But local authorities have given Leipzig the go ahead for a limited number of socially-distanced fans, the first Bundesliga side to receive such permission.

“We think that self-interest is clearly in the foreground here,” Unsere Kurve director Jost Peter told dpa.

Remarking on the club’s links to energy drinks maker Red Bull, he said it was not surprising “that a marketing company that plays football on the side is going it alone.”

The fan group wants an overarching approach from the league to a return for fans not a patchwork system which relies on which German state the clubs are based.

“Football must not overestimate its importance,” added Peter, saying: “You can talk about distortion of competition.”

Top German politicians had said September would be too soon for some fans to return to stadiums but Germany’s federal system leaves the decisions up to the states. A nationwide decree may not come until the end of October.

Bavarian state premier Soeder, tipped by many to be Angela Markel’s successor as chancellor, remains wary of letting a limited number of supporters back in.

“To allow football matches with fans again now while at the same time the infection figures are rising would be a bad signal,” he told the Passauer Neue Presse newspaper.

“A club with fans, the others without – that can’t be in the interest of either the league or the sport,” added the 53-year-old, who also wants “uniform rules for the Bundesliga.”

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