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Reduced fan limits pose ‘existential’ threat to Swiss football clubs

FC Basel says the 'drastic reduction' in fan limits has hit the club very hard Keystone

FC Basel have been told they can have only 1,000 fans at home matches, while FC Sion were ordered to play behind closed doors as local authorities in Switzerland cut crowd limits at football matches amid a surge in Covid-19 cases.

This content was published on October 22, 2020 - 11:09
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Meanwhile, the Swiss Football League said Basel’s next match, at home to Lausanne on Sunday, had been postponed because the team were in quarantine after one player tested positive for the coronavirus following a training session. Basel’s previous match at FC Zurich had also been called off.

Although the federal government said last month that professional football and ice hockey clubs could have stadiums up to two-thirds full, the final word lies with local authorities who have imposed new limits. On Sunday Young Boys Bern were also ordered to limit spectators to 1,000.

FC Basel president Roland Heri said the club, which had nearly 10,000 fans for a recent home game against FC Luzern, regretted the decision, adding that they had introduced effective health measures.

“It’s a stab in the heart for all football and sports fans. It hits us very hard,” he said in a club statementExternal link.

“The drastic reduction in fan capacity is a great pity in view of the enormous efforts that were necessary to create the current protection concept. The protection concept in St Jakob Park was implemented in an exemplary manner by the fans in the match against FC Luzern and worked very well.”

‘Existential challenge’

Heri said that the lack of matchday revenue would create an “existential challenge” for the 20-time Swiss champions.

Sion president Christian Constantin, meanwhile, told Le Matin newspaper that it would be better to suspend the league and restart with a shortened competition in the New Year.

Switzerland has recorded nearly 400 new cases per 100,000 people over the past two weeks, one of the highest rates in Europe.

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