FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) -- Fans are highly unlikely to return to German soccer stadiums before the end of the season, the chief executive of the top two men's divisions has said.
Christian Seifert, CEO of the German Football League, said he presumes there will be no change to the policy before the end of the season, in comments published Sunday by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung newspaper.
''In any case (of a fan return), not in a significant number. If we had ruled out games without fans from the start as some people demanded, the system would have collapsed,'' Seifert said.
''And no one at (the league) or the clubs wants to have games without fans either. However, we still have them because they are the only permitted option for hosting games, and presumably we will have them until the end of the season.''
Germany started the 2020-21 season with a six-week trial in September and October of limited numbers of fans allowed at games, up to 20% of the stadium capacity depending on the local coronavirus case numbers. The trial was part of a wide-ranging deal between German state and federal politicians and was not extended after the number of virus cases soared across the country.
The last major soccer nation to bring back fans was England, which allowed small numbers of supporters at some games last month in a scheme that was shut down weeks later as the country entered a renewed lockdown.
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