Germany Bans Fans from Attending Soccer Matches at Least Till End of October

The Bundesliga became the first league in Europe to recommence under strict coronavirus precautionary measures

Authorities said on Monday that Germany has agreed to the extension of a ban barring spectators from attending Bundesliga matches in stadiums at least until the end of October due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Bundesliga became the first European league to recommence under stringent coronavirus precautionary measures after it restarted in mid-May following a suspension of over two months due to the rapid spread of the pandemic.

Proposal to Permit Fans Rejected

The German Football League (DFL) had hoped authorities would accept an updated proposal to allow fans in stadiums again under certain conditions. But the health ministers of Germany's federal and 16 state governments rejected the proposal.

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The pointed to the rising numbers of coronavirus infections, the health ministry of the state of Berlin said. "In particular, local health authorities are currently focused on contact tracing, the school start and the return of holidays travelers," it said.

Making No Exception for Soccer Matches

As other major events in Germany remained banned until the end of October, the ministers agreed that no exception could be made for soccer matches, adding that their decision would not be revisited before autumn.

"We need to stay vigilant. In the current situation, spectators in the stadiums would be the wrong signal," Health Minister Jens Spahn said in a tweet. Pointing to an uptick in coronavirus cases over the past few days, Spahn warned against taking any avoidable risks that could further increase the infection rate.

Government officials have repeatedly urged Germans to stick with such precautionary measures as social distancing and the wearing of face masks, but the rising number of infections suggests some have become less careful during the summer months.

(With inputs from agencies)