A German football club has developed an opening plan that will include testing every ticket holder 24 hours before each game
Spotted: During the coronavirus pandemic, many sports fans have been reduced to watching reruns of their favourite games. But for some long-suffering fans, relief may soon be in sight. German football club Union Berlin has announced plans to test every single ticket holder before each game. That’s right, every single fan.
The club will offer testing to as many as 22,012 people (the home stadium’s full capacity) along with all club staff. Fans entering the stadium for games will need to show confirmation they have tested negative within the past 24 hours. The club hopes to implement the plan in time for the first home game of the new season on 18th September.
While other clubs are considering the use of socially-distanced seating plans, that approach won’t work for Union Berlin, where the majority of the stadium’s capacity is made up of terraces where fans stand close together. However, the plan faces major obstacles. Germany has a large testing capacity, but if more clubs took the same approach as Union Berlin, the pre-game surge in demand could be difficult to meet.
In suggesting the strategy, the club is also anxious to preserve the atmosphere of the game. Club president Dirk Zingler said in a statement that, “Our stadium experience doesn’t work with social distancing, and if we aren’t allowed to sing and shout, then it’s not Union.” The club has also made clear that it will be carrying the costs of implementing the necessary measures itself.
While mass testing is a unique strategy, we have seen an increase in other innovative approaches to re-opening sports and gyms. These range from socially-distanced yoga in personal geodesic domes to “individual” marathons. As re-openings continues, we are sure to see more creative ways in which sports activities are resuming.
Written By: Lisa Magloff