Dortmund mayor Ullrich Sierau has made an appeal to the football fans to not gather outside the stadium when Borussia Dortmund host FC Schalke 04 on Saturday, the day Bundesliga will resume the 2019-20 season after a two-month suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
All the remaining matches will be played at closed venues adhering to strict social distancing and other health measures laid by the German government and the German Football League (DFL).
However, the authorities are fearing large gatherings of football-crazy Germans outside the venues especially when the sport is returning after a break.
To avoid such a situation and make sure the fans obey the guidelines, Sierau asked the Dortmund supporters to not travel to anywhere near Signal Iduna Park and avoid actions that can risk the further spread of the virus.
“Football fans have to protect themselves and everyone else and not meet in groups to watch the derby. They are not allowed to go to the stadium and should not,” Goal.com quoted Sierau as saying.
“There is still a ban on contact in the city centre. In these times, the solidarity of football fans with one another and with the team should be shown by respecting the restrictions, remaining prudent, and not leaving the field to the virus, otherwise, they or others can maybe never watch a derby again,” he added.
The mayor urged the fans to not venture out even to pubs or restaurants to have a collective viewing experience and asked them to watch the game from their homes.
“There shouldn’t be a goal celebration as we normally know it in the restaurant and in the outside areas. You should keep your distance – even if it is difficult,” Sierau said.
“So we’d rather all stay at home in a small, family environment and look forward to a hopefully exciting derby there! The ‘zero’ has to be there – not only in terms of the game result for Schalke on the pitch, but also with the new infections,” he added.
Meanwhile, the fears of the authorities have been further alleviated by the fact that the Revierderby between Dortmund and Schalke generally attracts over 82,000 fans at the Signal Iduna Park.
In Saxony, where third-placed RB Leipzig will host mid-table Freiburg on Saturday afternoon, the state’s Interior Minister Roland Woeller has issued a clear threat.
“Fans must not use matches behind closed doors as an excuse to gather in front of the stadiums or elsewhere. This could lead to matches being stopped,” Woeller was quoted as saying by PTI via AFP.
Eintracht Frankfurt have made compassionate appeals to their fans to not break the rules of social distancing. “We’ve talked a lot with our fans and said: ‘listen guys, don’t show up at the stadium’,” Frankfurt’s sports director Fredi Bobic told ESPN.
The German Football League (DFL) announced on May 7 that the Bundesliga will return on May 16 after Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday had allowed Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 to resume the 2019-20 season.