Bayern Munich must kick off the new Bundesliga season behind closed doors because of a rising coronavirus infection rate in the Bavarian capital, city officials said on Thursday.
The decision puts an end the European champions’ plans to allow 7,500 fans into the Allianz Arena to watch Friday’s opening game at home to Schalke.
“It would be the wrong signal to let spectators into sports stadiums against the background of the current figures,” said Munich mayor Dieter Reiter.
Germany’s politicians have given Bundesliga clubs the green light to allow the partial return of fans into stadiums, providing the rate of infection in each region remains below 35 per 100,000 inhabitants.
However, the figure for Munich was revised to 47.6 per 100,000 on Thursday.
While the defending champions must kick off without fans, set numbers of spectators are expected to attend other Bundesliga matches on the opening weekend of the league season.
Reiter said he could understand the frustration of the club and Bayern’s fans, but “for me, this high number means that we at least have to think about much more drastic restrictions in public life.
“I can’t let thousands of fans into the stadiums at the same time.”
Bayern head coach Hansi Flick accepted the news as they start their quest to win their ninth Bundesliga title in a row.
“I’ve always said I’m in favour of keeping an eye on things,” Flick told reporters on Thursday.
“We have to protect ourselves and make the best of the situation.
“You have to take the numbers into account. These are things that I can’t do anything about, we have to be prepared for them.”
Uefa, Bayern in SuperCup talks after Budapest travel warning
Uefa said Thursday they are in talks with Bayern Munich over next week’s Super Cup final in Budapest after the German government declared the Hungarian capital a risk area for the coronavirus.
Despite the travel warning, European football’s governing body say Champions League winners Bayern will face Europa League holders Sevilla as planned at Budapest’s Puskas Arena on September 24 for the Uefa Super Cup.
“Uefa is in contact with Bayern Munich,” European football’s governing body said in a statement.
“The impact of the decision of the German authorities on the fans who have purchased tickets is being discussed.
“Further information will be provided in due course.”
The Robert Koch Institute, which advises the German government, has added Budapest to its list of risk areas.
At the start of September, Hungary closed its borders to foreigners in a bid to limit the spread of Covid-19.
Bayern fans are due to travel with 4,500 tickets allocated to the German champions as 30 percent of the stadium’s 67,000 capacity will be used for the UEFA Super Cup final.