Bundesliga becomes the first football league in Europe to return without fans, while UK churches consider ticketing to limit services once COVID-19 restrictions are eased…

Bundesliga

Germany’s Bundesliga this weekend became the first major European league to resume following the coronavirus outbreak, with hundreds of thousands of ticket-holders barred from attending games.

Borussia Dortmund, Europe’s best supported club with an average gate of 81,154 at its Signal Iduna Park, were among the teams to play in front of empty stands as they beat local rivals Schalke 4-0.

Under rules agreed by the Bundesliga clubs and the German authorities, only 213 people are allowed into the ground – 98 on and around the pitch, such as players, coaches and ball boys, and 115 in the stands, such as security, medics and media. Police patrols have been set up outside stadiums to ensure crowds do not gather.

With an average attendance of around 41,000 at Bundesliga games, an estimated 369,000 fans were barred from attending the nine games scheduled for the 26th matchday of the 2019-20 season.

Bundesliga clubs have offered refunds to fans for individual match tickets and season tickets, with many suggesting that fans might waiver part or all of the money owed. Schalke, the club with the seventh highest average attendance in Germany, wrote to fans in March and begged them to consider waiving refunds to ensure its continued “financial health”.

Under the voucher scheme enacted recently by the Federal Government, organisers can force ticket holders to accept a coupon covering future events instead of a refund.

Yankee Stadium

Yankee Stadium is set to host a new festival-like drive-in event this summer to allow New Yorkers to experience live music while social distancing in their cars.

Time Out New York reports that the events will take place each weekend starting from July. The festivals are set to feature live music, drive-in music experiences and car-side dinner service.

A lifted stage will form part of the experience to allow guests to view the entertainment from their cars. A live audio stream will also be available through car radios.

Marco Shalma of MASC Hospitality, which will work with community businesses in the Bronx to curate the festival experience, told Time Out: “Since we were planning on having the Bronx Night Market, the Bronx Beer Festival and Uptown Epicure Festival running this summer, which was supposed to start in May, we already had a lot of great options available. Everyone is so excited about the possibility of connecting sooner (at this new experience) than initially planned.”

Shalma said that tickets for the festivals would be “very affordable” and made available to as many New Yorkers as possible.

UK churches ticketing

UK churches are reportedly considering using ticketing to control entry at services for when they reopen after COVID-19 measures are lifted.

Anglican churches and other places of worship are looking to ticketing systems to be able to limit the number of people entering services when they are allowed to reopen on July 4 at the earliest as part of the government’s recovery strategy.

Ticketing would allow places of worship to control the number of worshipers entering and also direct those involved to uphold social distancing restrictions.

The move would follow the example of the local Catholic archdiocese in Cologne, which garnered support from Bundesliga football club FC Cologne to implement ticketing.

Earlier this month, public church services were permitted again in Germany’s most populous state under certain conditions, including maintaining a certain minimum distance from each other, controlling the number of worshippers at a service, and creating a seating chart according to the size of the room.

The Cologne Archdiocese is using an online ticket reservation system that FC Cologne uses in planning for events such as autograph-signing sessions.

Image: Валерий Дед