Union Berlin boss says German politicians are 'using' football to further political goals

Union president Dirk Zingler believes that Bundesliga matches are being played behind closed doors so that German politicians can show voters that they are doing something to combat the COVID-19 pandemic

Agence France-Presse January 05, 2022 19:06:43 IST
Union Berlin boss says German politicians are 'using' football to further political goals

Representational image. AFP

BerlinGermany: The president of Union Berlin believes Bundesliga matches are only being played behind closed doors so Germany's politicians can show voters they are doing something to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Politics often uses symbols during the pandemic, under the motto: 'We have to do something visible' and football stadiums lend themselves to that," Union president Dirk Zingler told magazine Sport Bild.

He believes German politicians have fallen "into the habit of using the power of football to transport their own ideas, their own political goals, through the media.

"Football is letting itself be used," he claimed.

The Bundesliga resumes this Friday after a two-week break with most top-flight games across Germany to be played at empty stadiums.

Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich are due to play Moenchengladbach away on Friday with eight of their star-studded squad having tested positive.

Union Berlin can break into the top six places with a win away to fourth-placed Leverkusen on Saturday.

Union rely on home fans creating an intimidating atmosphere at their compact Alten Foersterei stadium, where they have lost only once in their last 25 home league games.

Zingler argues that playing Bundesliga matches behind closed doors does little to curb the spread of the virus.

"Football stadiums are a natural target (for politicians), because football has a wide reach," Zingler added.

"But it is dishonest to point to the stands as a place of contamination."

He makes the point that the risk of infection in stadiums is "low" as spectators are "out in the fresh air" and would have to be fully vaccinated to attend.

As far as Zingler is concerned, there is "no objective reason" for football matches to be played behind closed doors.

"Yet, what happens: we empty the stadiums and send people home or to the pubs, where they then sit together and watch the game."

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