Soccer-Bundesliga ready for return of fans if authorities approve

Credit: REUTERS/WOLFGANG RATTAY

Germany's first and second division football clubs on Tuesday said they were prepared to allow some fans back into stadiums next season if the country's political authorities gave the green light later this month.

(Updates with quotes, details)

FRANKFURT, Germany, Aug 4 (Reuters) - Germany's first and second division football clubs on Tuesday said they were prepared to allow some fans back into stadiums next season if the country's political authorities gave the green light later this month.

German Football League CEO Christian Seifert said the possibility of fans in stadiums depended solely on the political leaders giving the go ahead.

"If and when fans will return to the stadiums is not a decision for the DFL but for the political leaders," Seifert told a news conference.

"The DFL does not expect or demand anything but we are preparing to take this small step (with fans in stadiums) when the time comes."

The health ministers of the individual German states are due to meet next week and the new Bundesliga season starts on Sept. 18. "Professional football can only come back in steps. There is no magic switch for politicians to give the green light for full stadiums. That will happen in steps," Seifert said. "We will have to reclaim normality in small steps."

He said that if fans were allowed into stadiums there would be no visiting supporters at least until the end of the year, no standing tribunes and no alcohol sold.

"No one at the DFL will demand a specific number of fans. That would be irresponsible," Seifert said.

The German government has banned all events with large crowds until Oct. 31.

Germany is fearing a second wave of infections and the number of confirmed coronavirus cases increased by 879 to 211,281, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Tuesday. The reported death toll rose by eight to 9,156. (Reporting by Karolos Grohmann Editing by Toby Davis) ((karolos.grohmann@thomsonreuters.com; +491743343192;)) Keywords: SOCCER GERMANY/DFL (UPDATE 1)

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