Plastic cutouts to replace live fans for German club

CIARÁN FAHEY (AP Sports Writer)
The Associated Press
FILE-In this April 30, 2016 file photo Moenchengladbach supporter cheer their team during the German Bundesliga soccer match between FC Bayern Munich and Borussia Moenchengladbach at the Allianz Arena stadium in Munich, Germany. The league has been suspended through April 30 at least due to the coronavirus outbreak and its likely that fans will be excluded if it resumes. Public life in Germany has been largely shut down to contain the virus, and clubs are resigned to more so-called ghost games without supporters if the season is to be concluded. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
FILE-In this April 30, 2016 file photo Moenchengladbach supporter cheer their team during the German Bundesliga soccer match between FC Bayern Munich and Borussia Moenchengladbach at the Allianz Arena stadium in Munich, Germany. The league has been suspended through April 30 at least due to the coronavirus outbreak and its likely that fans will be excluded if it resumes. Public life in Germany has been largely shut down to contain the virus, and clubs are resigned to more so-called ghost games without supporters if the season is to be concluded. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

BERLIN (AP) -- A German club's supporters are planning to replace real-life fans with plastic ones when the Bundesliga resumes - and raise some money for a child's medical treatment in the process.

Borussia Mönchengladbach supporters have come up with a novel way to support their team, even though they probably won't be allowed to attend games for a while longer because of the coronavirus outbreak.

One Gladbach supporters group is giving members the chance to create life-size plastic figures that will be placed in the stadium in their places when - and if - the Bundesliga is able to complete its season.

“We don’t have any concrete expectations but it should be a couple of thousand fans anyway,” the FPMG club’s liaison officer Thomas “Tower” Weinmann told The Associated Press.

For 19 euros ($21) each supporter can have their portrait taken and reprinted on hard weatherproof plastic cutouts. From each sale, 2 euros ($2.20) will go toward a fundraising campaign for a boy named Ben to receive treatment for spinal muscular atrophy. Another portion of the money raised will go toward supporting seven workers in the fan club whose jobs are under threat with no soccer being played.

“The rest is pure manufacturing and processing costs. With this we’re also helping two small companies in Mönchengladbach that had to close their shops,” FPMG says on its website. “So no profit will be made, and when the ‘war is won’ and we can all go back to the stadium, everyone can take their portrait in plastic as a souvenir of a memorable time.”

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