Ghost games in professional sports because of Omikron

In the stadiums and sports halls it will soon be bleak again everywhere due to the rapid spread of the omicron variant of the corona virus. “Large national events are no longer allowed to take place with an audience, this applies in particular to football games,” said Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) on Tuesday after consultations with the prime ministers of the federal states.

Under point 12 of the resolution of the federal-state summit it said: “Large national events will take place without spectators from December 28, 2021 at the latest.” This means that the top leagues in basketball or ice hockey have to prepare for ghost games nationwide again. “This is not good news for professional sport as a whole,” said managing director Alexander Wehrle from Bundesliga soccer club 1. FC Köln.

“1.8 million euros loss of revenue per game”

The Bundesliga takes a break until January 7th, the 2nd Bundesliga and the 3rd division until January 14th. The Basketball Bundesliga and the German Ice Hockey League DEL have also scheduled games over the holidays and the turn of the year. After December 28th, the men’s Handball Bundesliga (HBL) will take a break from the European Championship until the beginning of February.

HBL Managing Director Frank Bohmann (57) said the game break “sounds more comfortable than it is. We will have to get used to difficult times.” However, a season break has never been more appropriate than it is now. Already this Wednesday there will be another “Jour fixe” of the clubs to consult, he said.

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The federal and state governments also extended the Corona Help professional sport program. This would have expired on December 31st. Nevertheless, the economic concerns of the clubs are increasing in view of the further expected loss of income.

“For FC, this means a loss of 1.8 million euros in revenue per game. This also means that we will have to take measures in the coming weeks and months,” said Kölns Wehrle and complained: “All the findings that we have from the health authorities or from the Cologne health department say that there were no hotspots at open-air events .”

Second division club Werder Bremen also expects to lose around 1.1 million euros per game. Nevertheless, Werder boss Klaus Filbry endorsed the political measures: “Due to the expected dynamics that the omicron variant will bring to the pandemic, we fully understand the political decision.”

At the last federal-state meeting at the beginning of December – at that time still under Chancellor Angela Merkel – the federal government and the state leaders had agreed on a maximum of 50 percent of the capacity in the Bundesliga arenas or a maximum of 15,000 spectators. In sports halls there should be a maximum of 5000 spectators.

Some federal states took even tougher measures. Saxony and Bavaria ordered a ban on spectators. Among others, the German soccer champions Bayern Munich and league rivals RB Leipzig played their home games in front of empty stands.

There will also be no visitors at the two ski jumping events of the Four Hills Tournament on Bavarian soil in Oberstdorf (December 29) and Garmisch-Partenkirchen (January 1). The tournament competitions in Austria on January 4th in Innsbruck and two days later in Bischofshofen are initially planned with spectators – albeit in a very limited number.

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