“2G or not 2G – that is the question.” Oke Göttlich had emphasised it in several interviews and also communicated it clearly at the general meeting: The (short-term) future of professional football in stadiums is: 2G.
Vaccinated or recovered. Just tested is no longer enough.
(Cover picture: Stefan Grönveld)
(*2G refers to the German abbreviation “Geimpft oder Genesen” which would translate to vaccinated or recovered from COVID whereas 3G would also include those who tested negative for an acute COVID infection during the last 24 hours)
Let’s start with the facts: FC St.Pauli will play FC Ingolstadt at Millerntor on Sunday at 13.30h. After just under 9,000 fans at the first home game and a good 10,000 fans at the following home games, just under 15,000 people are now allowed into the stadium, so a 50% occupancy rate is permitted.
As we will see in a moment, however, this is not quite evenly distributed across all stands.
The basic procedure remains (almost) identical to the previous games. There will again be a pre-buy period for the various groups of people (attention, already now), admission will also remain staggered according to row and the obligation to wear a mask will remain in place until you reach your designated area. (Club homepage 1// Club homepage 2)
The only exceptions to 2G are for children and young people under 18, who are required to take a test no more than 24 hours old.
So anyone who cannot be vaccinated for health reasons is not allowed into the stadium. There will certainly be criticism of this and it is justified, after all, this excludes people who have no other choice because they cannot be vaccinated. The club has tried to find a solution with the health department, for example by setting up a separate area, but this could not be realised.
“Off to the South”
What is probably unexpected for many is that the stands will not be filled evenly, but for the Gegengerade and main there will probably be a similar density as before, and in parts, it may even be fuller. The chequerboard pattern for seats has been abolished. The north, on the other hand, will remain completely closed for the home section.
The South, however, will be 100% full, both standing and seated. This also means that USP will again go to the stadium as a group, which has not been the case since the pandemic began.
It was “all or none” – and a full South stand is as close to that as possible.
[…] With the 2G regulation given by the city, it is unfortunately still not possible for everyone to really experience the curves. This is nobody’s fault but this shitty pandemic and therefore it should not permanently block important developments for the group and the fan scene – but it is unsatisfactory and must remain in the consciousness. […]USP
The desire to support (apart from the cited restriction) can still be read in every line. Also the appeal to everyone to really only go to the south (incl. seats) if you also want to actively support. Of course, there is also the possibility for everyone else to go to the South who is otherwise in the support block of the Gegengerade or for North support – the latter then rather by necessity.
Nevertheless, this can of course be seen critically. Even if 2G is clearly better than 3G, wouldn’t it have made more sense differently?
(And please don’t start a “But 3G is better because…” discussion here, it’s beyond our resources and our nerves, you’ll find better places for it on Google. The first comments under the club post on FB are at least already… “special”. Those who really see something like “a lack of solidarity” here are simply overlooking how lacking one’s own behaviour is, at least if one has the possibility of inoculation.
Even the possibility of visits with 3G, which was given in between, only came about because there was already a high vaccination rate).
At least from an external perspective, it should be very strange if one stand is full to bursting, but the others are only sparsely filled, and one is even closed. Shouldn’t we still try to minimise the existing residual risks (distances) even with 2G as long as we are in a pandemic? And is it really not practicable, as suggested by USP among others on a voluntary basis, to prescribe a test in addition to 2G?
Just for the funny “Oh look, the pandemic is over on Pauli….” comments in the social networks, a few servers can be booked as a precaution.
A few questions remain
So why has this variant been chosen? Why does the north (home) have to remain closed? Why did it take so long until the announcement? Because the idea had actually been around for a while and the first communication about it was planned for Friday, in order to leave time and space for the discussions – now it has already been more than tight until the start of sales, which is a problem especially for booking contiguous seats.
When it comes to the question of the reasons for the variant, there are probably two main arguments. The first and certainly undisputed point is the hope for a return to the old atmosphere. I don’t mean to say that the atmosphere at the last games was bad, but it was “different” and I too would like to see the return of a “real” “Aux armes” and the permanent fire from the south. (Yes, there will be people who see the latter differently, let’s forget it).
And for this mood, we need the return of organised support – and that only exists with USP and USP only exists with (at least) a full South. Even then, this will not have happened without internal discussions and there will certainly be Ultras who will not – or cannot, see above – go back now.
The point that is interpreted a little more is probably that the club also needs a full South. Not for the atmosphere, but for the pictures. For the sponsors, for the business seats, for the glossy products. Can you blame the club for that? For the pictures, but against an even distribution with as much spacing as would then be possible? Yes, and enough people will certainly do that – and you can’t really disagree with them on that point at least – and maybe I’m completely imagining the point, quite possibly.
I’m not going to follow up with a “but” here, I simply don’t know how it all looks with 2G and whether a full South then represents a significantly higher risk or whether this is more in the per mille range. Virologists to the fore, if there was a tweet by Christian Drosten on the subject, I would of course link it here immediately.
(Still) No Heart for the North
And that brings us to the point that, apart from the exclusion of those not vaccinated for medical reasons, will probably provoke the most criticism: The North will remain closed in the home section – probably in favour of the full South. This may not be so important to many people on the South or on the Gegengerade, but for those who normally have their home there, this may already be difficult. Even though the slimmed-down standing variant of the last few games is of course not a desirable scenario either. After all, see above, they are welcomed with open arms on the South. Perhaps there are other reasons that we don’t have.
And why did it all take so long?
Probably the one causes the other because obviously the health department was a bit more cautious and did not want to make it so easy for the people in the club and demanded many additional requirements and adjustments to the concept. The point “special area for non-vaccinated people for medical reasons” has already been mentioned. Of course, no one on any of the sides involved wants to be responsible if, in a few weeks’ time, it is said that a new superspreader event at the Millerntor has ushered in the next wave of pandemics.
Does 2G really apply to everyone?
Last point, which we probably can’t clarify here either: If everything is really so strict with 2G and really no exceptions are made for medical necessities – does that also apply to the players on the pitch?
What about Lukas Kwasniok, Paderborn’s coach, a declared opponent of the Corona vaccine – is he only allowed to coach his team from outside the bus? Will FC Ingolstadt now ask whether everyone has been vaccinated?
Do the caterers and security staff have enough employees who have been vaccinated?
It is probably very typical to look for problems and exceptions rather than solutions, and I don’t want to badmouth this solution in any way. I think it’s good and right, or on the whole as good as it can be.
I’m looking forward to a full South, I’m looking forward to a few more fans in the stadium, I’m looking forward to USP as a group, I’m looking forward to an “Aux armes” started in the South. I’m looking forward to a “curve completely out of control”, even if this term currently has an unintentional double meaning.
And yet, even with 15,000, of course, it’s not yet back to what we all want. But at least it’s one step closer – and the non-vaccinated for medical reasons and the North, hopefully, we’ll manage that very quickly too.
Bonus: If you read the above-linked text from USP to the end, you might then also have a bit of anticipation for something that is currently being negotiated behind the scenes.
// Maik (translation by Arne)