14 July 2021 – The clubs of the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 are planning to welcome away fans back into their stadiums from the third matchday of the coming 2021-22 season. The Extraordinary Members Assembly of DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga passed a resolution to this effect on Wednesday. For as long as spectator capacity is still subject to legal restrictions, five per cent of the tickets for each game are to be reserved for away fans. Once restrictions are lifted completely, there will be an automatic return to the intended contingent of ten per cent.
Only the first home game of the season is not covered by this rule. This will allow the respective clubs to obtain experience of welcoming fans back to stadiums at the start of the season. Last season’s matches were mostly played without spectators; the clubs had ceased to admit away fans in light of the coronavirus pandemic and on the basis of a joint decision.
In principle, each club is responsible for developing stadium-specific safety and hygiene concepts for staging matches as major events with public attendance. These individual concepts developed by the clubs are coordinated with the local health authorities in charge and require their approval. At the same time, following consultation with the local authorities, each club decides on the contents of its concept for itself. Although the respective coronavirus-related health protection ordinances of the federal states largely set out uniform regulations in this regard that are valid until 11 September 2021 after the most recent resolution of the heads of state and senate chancelleries of 6 July 2021, the individual concepts of the clubs take the respective location-specific conditions into account. These include the infrastructure at the stadiums in question and arrival and departure routes, which are different for each stadium, as well as the applicable orders from the authorities. In this respect, it is not possible to have a uniform nationwide concept for a return of fans to stadiums.
Five substitutions still permitted in both leagues
Looking ahead to the matches of the coming season, the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 clubs also used the meeting in Frankfurt to consider the maximum number of substitutions. In both leagues, as has recently already been the case, five substitutions will be permitted per match. In the 2021-22 season, each team will once again have three opportunities during the match as well as the half-time interval to make substitutions. The International Football Association Board (IFAB), which is responsible for the rules of the game, had previously approved the possibility of such an adjustment to the permitted number of substitutions for the 2021-22 season as well.
Another topic at the Extraordinary Members Assembly of the DFL was the DFL and DFB’s medical and hygiene-related occupational health and safety concept for the 2021-22 season. A draft of the concept, which was again devised by the “Sports Medicine/Special Match Operations Task Force” and aims to ensure with the occupational health and safety of workers involved in the staging of matches and their media coverage, was published by the DFL at dfl.de and sent to the clubs last week. The final version is to be fixed by statute as an annex to the DFL regulations by way of a resolution of the Executive Committee of the DFL in the coming days.