The local health department in Cologne, in agreement with the local authorities, has informed the German Football Association (DFB) that the international against Turkey tomorrow (Wednesday, 20:45 CEST) cannot take place with 9,200 fans as planned. This is due to the fact that the 7-day local infection rate in Cologne has exceeded the 35 limit (per 100,000 people). Only 300 fans will now be able to attend the game in the RheinEnergieStadion.
The DFB’s plan to give away free tickets for the Turkey match is no longer possible. All Print@Home tickets for this fixture will now no longer be valid. The DFB asks all fans in possession of such ticket not to come to the RheinEnergieStadion on Wednesday and thanks them for their understanding.
Keller: “A real shame, but the right decision”
The local authorities have permitted up to 300 fans to attend the game against Turkey. Even with such a low number in attendance, the DFB must take the relevant precautions regarding hygiene, protection from infection, entry management and ensuring that social distancing of 1.5m is observed (also in queues) and that tracing can take place. Many of these tickets will be given to key workers. On Thursday, UEFA had said that up to 30% of stadium capacity could be filled subject to local permission.
DFB president Fritz Keller says: “After UEFA confirmed details allowing fans to return to games, we were hopeful of welcoming fans to our international matches in Cologne. We’ve really missed them over the last few months. For the game against Turkey, we really wanted to give 9,200 free tickets to people who have gone without so much during this pandemic and who have been there for others in times of need. The current infection rate, not just in Cologne, shows that this crisis is far from over and that we need to remain disciplined and act with responsibility. It’s a shame, but that’s why it’s the right decision to go ahead without many fans. At the same time, we’re at least glad that tomorrow’s game won’t be behind closed doors and that 300 fans will be able to attend. We are hopeful that we will be able to welcome more fans for the match against Switzerland in Cologne next week, or at least the home games in Leipzig in November. That would allow us to hand out the free tickets to say ‘thank you’. As the national side, we want to bring people joy through football.”