German soccer club offers free coronavirus tests for 20,000 fans
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The German soccer club Union Berlin will distribute over 20,000 free COVID-19 tests for fans as games are slated to take place in full stadiums starting in September.

The club plans to offer the testing ahead of each game to each fan in attendance, requiring fans to test negative for the virus within 24 hours of kickoff and bring their test confirmation and a ticket, The Associated Press reported.

Some clubs have looked into hosting games with socially distanced seating plans, however more than 80 percent of the Union stadium's capacity consists of terraces where fans stand near each other.


"Our stadium experience doesn't work with social distancing, and if we aren't allowed to sing and shout, then it's not Union," club president Dirk Zingler said in a statement.

Zingler added that the goal of testing fans pre-kickoff is to ensure nobody will be infected inside sold-out stadiums by way of the newly adopted safety net.

"To implement such a plan is an enormous organizational and economic challenge, which we are happy to tackle with all our might. It means that we as a football club will carry the costs of implementing the necessary measures ourselves."

Despite the proactive planning behind the Bundesliga club's model, Berlin's city government has banned mass gatherings until Oct. 24, a rule that caused the Berlin marathon slated for late September to be canceled.

The city of Leipzig has considered holding matches at up to 50 percent capacity with social distancing measures in place.

Bundesliga, which restarted games in May without fans, is communicating with the German government and is urging clubs to speak with local health officials to come up with plans for resuming matches with fans.