Danish football restart with virtual tribune, drive-in cinema

The Danish Super League is set to restart on May 28 and clubs have been quite inventive when it comes to coping with having to play behind closed doors.

The first match, after a coronavirus-related break of two-and-a-half months, is a regional derby between Aarhus and Randers, then come the last two rounds of the regular season, followed by the championship round with the best six teams.

While the fans can’t come into the stadium in person because of ongoing restrictions, Aarhus are going digital to have them present after all.

Fans can watch the game from 22 different blocks in the stadium in a collaboration with the Zoom video platform.

Some of the fans will also appear on the big screen in the stadium so that the players benefit as well.

Club boss, Jacob Nilsen, believes that getting the fans into the stadium in this way could be copied by others.

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“It appears that we will have to play without spectators for a while.

“Maybe we can inspire other clubs to have similar initiatives and that they can profit from it over the next weeks,’’ Nilsen said.

Aarhus is also having their fans fill the seats with cardboard cut-outs and they will arrange a live broadcast at a central square with fans able to watch from their cars.

Runaway leaders Midtjylland have a similar idea named “Drive-In Football” – turning their stadium parking area into a drive-in cinema to allow some 10,000 fans in 2,000 vehicles to follow the team’s first match in this way.

The Super League got permission in early May to restart, which gives the Danes a head start over northern neighbours, Sweden where the top two leagues -Allsvenskan and Superettan – are still in talks with health authorities over a June 14 season start pushed back from April.

The leagues’ group SEF has provided a detailed concept and even though Sweden didn’t have as strict lockdown measures as most other countries games will also be played without fans there.

“We play without spectators, only a minimal amount of officials and media will be allowed into the stadium.

“The fans will watch the games in their home towns, on TV or in sports bars,’’ the SEF said.

But fans are gradually going to be allowed back, with only every third seat occupied and the standing areas remaining closed.

However, patience is required as the nation’s top epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, told the Aftonbladet paper in mid-May that “we will let you know in early June’’.

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