Social distancing in the stands: crowd returns to Danish football

Danish football teams Brondby and Copenhagen on Sunday played the first league match with crowds in the stands since March. AFP spoke to some of the fans.

Social distancing in the stands: crowd returns to Danish football
Thibault Savary/AFP
For 41-year-old Chris, it was “the best experience of my life”.
Marriage, fatherhood, highly-paid new job? No. He was referring to the opportunity to finally attend a Danish league football game along with 3,000 others for the Brondby v Copenhagen clash on Sunday.
“After three months without a stadium, this return is the best experience of my life,” Chris told AFP after the 1-1 draw.
In Denmark, crowds have been limited to 500 since the lockdown but Sunday's game was allowed special dispensation to host 3,000 under strict coronavirus health protocols.
Now the authorities will assess the advisability of increasing the number of people present in the stands on a more regular basis.   
Inside the stadium on Sunday, supporters were asked to stay two metres apart in a stadium usually full to its 28,000 capacity. Despite that, fans were looking on the bright side.
“It felt like there were 30,000 here today,” said Emil, 22. “I missed the stadium so much, and so did everyone. It's really great to be back.”
The Danish league had resumed on May 28 behind closed doors.   
Football in Europe is very slowly returning to normal even if the major leagues of England, Spain, Italy and Germany have also resumed without fans.   
However, earlier this month, 16,000 spectators watched a Serbian Cup semi-final.

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‘I’m fine — under the circumstances’: Collapsed Danish striker tweets from hospital

Christian Eriksen, the Danish football player who collapsed on the pitch in his country's opening Euro 2020 game, said that he was doing "fine" in an Instagram post from hospital on Tuesday.

'I’m fine — under the circumstances': Collapsed Danish striker tweets from hospital
Danish striker Christian Eriksen tweeted a picture of himself in hospital. Photo: DBU

“I’m fine — under the circumstances, I still have to go through some examinations at the hospital, but I feel okay,” he wrote in a post accompanying a photo of him smiling and giving a thumbs-up while lying in bed.

In a scene that shocked the sporting world and beyond, the 29-year-old Inter Milan midfielder suddenly collapsed on the field in the 43rd minute of Denmark’s Group B game on Saturday against Finland in Copenhagen.


Medical personnel administered CPR as he lay motionless on the field for about 15 minutes before being carried off the pitch and rushed to hospital. He was later confirmed to have suffered cardiac arrest.

“Big thanks for your sweet and amazing greetings and messages from all around the world. It means a lot to me and my family,” he wrote in Tuesday’s post. “Now, I will cheer on the boys on the Denmark team in the next matches. Play for all of Denmark.”