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Union Berlin targets full capacity test match next month

German Bundesliga football club Union Berlin has maintained its plans to host more than 20,000 spectators at a test match without social distancing rules in place on October 25.

Union Berlin president Dirk Zingler said that a capacity crowd at the 22,012-capacity Stadion An der Alten Försterei is the club’s top priority and it is working in close conjunction with the league, local politicians, and health authorities.

Zingler said the club will not carry out PCR tests as was planned for another game last month, but it has plans to offer “rapid tests” to be administered on-site.

Speaking to Germany’s ARD Radio, Zingler said: “Football with [social] distancing and masks doesn’t work. We need to figure out performance formats where distancing isn’t necessary.

“Through the use of preventative tests, we will work intensively to find a way for people to attend events without distancing again. Solutions in which no distance is necessary must be found.”

He added that the absence of the audience caused by COVID-19 is “certainly in the double-digit million range”.

Five thousand fans attended Union Berlin’s 3-1 home defeat against Augsburg at the weekend as fans were present at a number of Bundesliga matches after politicians last week reached an agreement to allow stadium attendance of up to 20-per-cent capacity across the league.

The biggest attendance of the weekend was at Signal Iduna Park, where 9,300 fans watched Borussia Dortmund’s 3-0 home win against Borussia Mönchengladbach. It marked Dortmund’s first home match with fans since February 29.

Union Berlin became the first team to welcome fans back in a September 5 friendly.

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