Sports clubs want fans returning to matches

A return to packed stadiums full of fans is not expected any time soon. Keystone / Ronald Wittek

Sporting associations and clubs are lobbying the authorities to allow crowds to return to matches. The government will next week examine lifting a 1,000-person limit on public gatherings, according to two newspapers.

This content was published on August 9, 2020

Sports bodies, led by football and ice hockey, are warning the death of clubs unless crowd limits are eased. Both the SonntagsZeitung and NZZ am Sonntag report that on Wednesday the government will look into safety concepts that could allow this to happen at matches. A decision is not expected until later this month.

Several clubs are reported to have presented their plans of how to safely increase crowds. The measures include abolishing standing areas for fans, ticketing procedures that keep track of people attending matches, compulsory mask wearing and closing down food and drink stalls at stadiums.

“You can no longer justify permitting dance and cultural events with several hundred participants, where coronavirus measures may be less strictly observed than in large stadiums with a reduced number of spectators,” Marc Lüthi, managing director of the Bern ice hockey club, told the SonntagsZeitung.

“We want a safety concept that allows more than 1,000 fans to attend matches. This is a matter that concerns our very existence,” Swiss Ice Hockey League director Denis Vaucher told NZZ am Sonntag.

The media reports that some government ministers are sympathetic to the cause of sports clubs. Health minister Alain Berset confirmed to the NZZ am Sonntag that the government is looking into the issue but warned against expecting a return to pre-pandemic “normality”.

“There will be no full stadiums without restrictions,” he said. “The regulations will depend on the type of activity. An exhibition event lasting several days is different from a concert or football match, where thousands of people come together for a few hours.”

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