When Heiner Tümmers talks about the coming Bundesliga season, there are many question marks at the end of his sentences. In them the Ruhrpott dialect is just as hard to ignore as his serious concern:
“How do you deal the cards fairly?”
“What is the relationship between cost and benefit?”
“Can I get real beer or unleaded pilsner?”[“Tümmers is a kind of question collector in the Schalke 04 fan scene and is chairman of the Schalker Fan Club Association (SFCV), in which 900 fan clubs have come together. If anyone can see what moves the Schalke fans, it’s Tümmers.”]
Fans all over the country are asking themselves whether and, above all, how a visit to a stadium under corona conditions can be possible. At the latest when the Bundesliga season starts again in September, this question will probably be more exciting than the one after the German championship. And although the answers are still being worked on, some fans have already positioned themselves. “All or none”, can be heard from the Ultras\’ camp. Others want to accept the restrictions, just to finally watch live football again.
Heiner Tümmers summarizes the problem as follows: “We\’re fishing in the dark.” Schalke\’s hygiene concept is not yet known. The club faces the challenge of weighing the health of all those involved against the risks of a familiar stadium experience. Until the concept is available, the fans are therefore worried: Are there fixed admission times? Will tickets be personalized? How and where can I pee? The unresolved issues range from political to banal.
“There are two camps,” says Wreckers. “A significant number of fans say: We really want to get back into the stadium. “Another significant number of fans say: We won\’t do it.” What\’s important to the SFCV chairman is that both opinions are 100 percent acceptable.
Tümmers himself belongs more to the fraction of those who want to go back to the stadium. “I personally would put the interests of the club first,” he says. “If it helps S04, my God, let\’s do it.”
For Schalke, the discussion is currently having a very deliberate effect. The SFCV is against a partial admission of the fans. At the same time, a statement says: “It should be made clear that everyone should decide for themselves whether or not to go to the stadium. This is NOT a call to boycott.
There are clearer words from other fan groups. Südkurve Köln, an association of fan clubs of 1st FC Köln, writes: “We will only be back in the curve when all FC fans are allowed into the stadium without restrictions to cheer on their FC. For us it is clear that a stadium experience is not only defined by the football game but also by the community. Emotions and joy cannot be experienced at a distance of 1.5 metres.
The fan scene of the regional league club FC Energie Cottbus seems to have a similar opinion. The supporters of Energie sum it up like this: “Football belongs to us all! All or none!”
Less than 200 kilometres to the west, in Saxony-Anhalt, the fans of Halleschen FC see things differently. They want as many fans as possible to be allowed into the stadium, and hope that the standing room will also be reopened. The fans from Halle have formulated seven demands to the club for the partial opening of the stadium. “The goal should be maximum capacity! Let as many fans into the stadium as possible,” writes the alliance of active HFC members, and: “The atmosphere and the use of fan materials should not be taboo! After all, who benefits from a mute, even lifeless audience?”
Even the active fan scene, which usually struggles to speak with one voice on major issues, is divided. “There is no uniform opinion, it varies from club to club,” says Thomas Kessen, board member of Unsere Kurve. According to its own statements, the club represents a six-figure number of fans of clubs from the first four divisions throughout Germany. “The contradictions between health protection, recreational enjoyment and fan culture cannot be resolved,” it says in a statement.
Among the representatives of the all-or-none faction, “criticism of the ghost games still resonates,” says Kessen. Supporters from this camp are of the opinion that football only works with fans. Kessen explains the argumentation as follows: “The problems that football has are due to the business model and not the sport.
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