Danish football

Telia Parken, home to Danish top-tier Superliga football club FC Copenhagen, has laid out plans to welcome 10,500 fans to the 38,065-capacity ground.

Currently, Denmark has a limit on gatherings of up to 500 people as it gradually reopens following closures due to COVID-19, which the club has planned to circumvent by creating 21 sections of up to 500 supporters throughout the stadium. It is currently waiting for approval on the plan.

FC Copenhagen’s ticketing partner Roboticket has been involved in the proposed plan to host 10,500 fans, which would account for up to 27 per cent of the ground’s capacity, and would see approximately every fourth seat occupied.

Telia Parken allows each floor to have its own entrance, toilet facilities and food and drink stalls.

Lars Bo Jeppesen, director and chief executive of Parken Sport and Entertainment, said: “If this succeeds, then it is a unique opportunity for us and Danish football to take a big step out of a serious crisis and help the entire ecosystem under the FCK and the Super League.

“We understand that it may cause some people to be disappointed not to get a seat, but we will go for a combination of fans and partners at the stadium. How the distribution will be, we do not know yet, but one thing is certain, and it is that nobody gets the right to an empty seat. It must be understood in the way that you have to announce whether you are coming or not, so that we ensure full utilisation of the seats.”

Meanwhile, another Superliga club, Aalborg BK, saw strong demand for fans to return after its 250 home tickets sold out in five minutes on the Roboticket platform this morning (Wednesday).

The club’s Sydbank Cup semi-final match against Aarhus Gymnastikforening tonight will host the maximum spectator crowd of 280 people at the 14,135-capacity Aalborg Stadium, with 28 tickets made available to away fans.

Vejle Boldklub has become the first football club in the country to welcome fans back into its stadium.

Vejle, which currently sits top of the second tier of Danish football, granted access to 500 fans for yesterday’s (Tuesday’s) match against Skive IK. Vejle, which lost the match 2-1, offered some of the tickets to commercial partners which had supported the club through the COVID-19 crisis, with the remainder being issued to season ticket holders through a lottery process.

Vejle Stadium has a capacity of just over 10,000 and director Henrik Tønder has expressed his hope that for forthcoming matches the club can split the stadium into sections of 500 seated fans, up to a capacity of 3,000 for the final games of the 2019-20 season.

NASCAR

US motor-racing championship NASCAR has detailed plans to readmit fans at select NASCAR Cup Series races, beginning this month with Homestead-Miami Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway.

NASCAR has been one of the few US sports bodies to resume action amid COVID-19, with the historic circuits of Darlington Raceway and Charlotte Motor Speedway commencing the hosting of events behind closed doors from May 17.

NASCAR’s new plan will start with the Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on June 14, followed by the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on June 21. NASCAR said its modified event procedures, protocols and number of attendees have been finalised with guidance from public health officials, medical experts and local, state and federal officials.

All guests in attendance will be screened before entering, required to wear face coverings, mandated to social distance at six feet, and will not have access to the infield, among other revised operational protocols.

Military members will be the first guests allowed entrance to a NASCAR Cup Series event since March 8. Homestead-Miami Speedway will invite up to 1,000 South Florida service members as honorary guests for the Dixie Vodka 400, representing the Homestead Air Reserve Base and U.S. Southern Command in Doral.

Talladega Superspeedway will allow up to 5,000 guests in the frontstretch grandstands/towers for the GEICO 500. In addition, there will be limited motorhome/5th-wheel camping spots available outside the track. Tickets are open exclusively on a first come, first served basis to fans who purchased tickets or reserved camping for the originally scheduled GEICO 500 on April 26 and live within a designated proximity to the track.

“We have tremendous respect and appreciation for the responsibility that comes with integrating guests back into our events,” said Daryl Wolfe, executive vice-president and chief operations and sales officer at NASCAR.

“We believe implementing this methodical process is an important step forward for the sport and the future of live sporting events. The passion and unwavering support of our industry and fans is the reason we race each weekend and we look forward to slowly and responsibly welcoming them back at select events.”

NASCAR said it will continue to adapt and improve its procedures to ensure they are effective and can be scaled to support an increased number of fans in the future. “We’re going to have a lot of hand sanitising, hand washing,” added John Bobo, NASCAR vice-president of racing operations, according to the Associated Press news agency.

“One of the things that I’m kind of proud of to see is we’re going to have a clean team, a clean team that’s at track constantly cleaning everything very visibly for every guest that’s there to know we’re doing everything we can to keep them safe. We feel confident in the plan.”

Image: Guillaume Baviere