German authorities refuse DFB request to bump up stadium limit to 1,000 for Cup final

June 18 – Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich will play the German cup final behind closed doors after local authorities rejected a request from the German FA (DFB) for fans to attend the match. 

Last year, Bayern Munich defeated RB Leipzig 3-0 at a packed Olympiastadion in Berlin, but those scenes won’t be repeated on July 4 when the German champions will seek to retain the German cup after the Berlin government ruled that no fans can attend the showpiece match.

The ‘DFB-Pokal’ is the traditional finale to Germany’s domestic club season that unites thousands of visiting fans in Berlin and a giant TV audience, and the German FA had been hopeful that up to 1,000 fans could attend this year’s final after the game’s coronavirus shutdown.

“The response to our request was negative,” said the DFB. “The rules currently in place in Berlin mean that any gathering of more than 1,000 in the capital is forbidden until August 31.”

Even if the local government had granted the request, the number of fans would still have been very limited with the teams, coaches, club officials, media and match officials adding up to 200-250 people alone.

In March, German football shutdown because of the coronavirus pandemic, but the Bundesliga was the first major European league to resume the season with the ‘Rivierderby’ between Schalke 04 and Dortmund behind closed doors. Earlier this week, Bayern Munich were crowned champions for an 8th consecutive time.

Fans may not return anytime soon in Germany as the country intends to ban large events until the end of October to prevent a second wave of the coronavirus. On Wednesday, the leaders of all 16 German states met with chancellor Angela Merkel and agreed to maintain social distancing rules in place and extend the ban on big gatherings, including festivals and fairs. However, some states would consider certain exceptions.

“As long as there is no vaccine and no medicine available we must maintain basic measures to protect ourselves,” said Merkel.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1600853961labto1600853961ofdlr1600853961owedi1600853961sni@o1600853961fni1600853961