Dynamo Dresden fans buy 72,000 tickets for match in empty stadium

Dynamo Dresden said they sold more than 72,000 “ghost” tickets for the cup match at home to Darmstadt on Tuesday, even though it was played in an empty stadium.

With fans barred from attending because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the third-tier side decided to put tickets on sale at €5 each and appealed to fans to buy them out of solidarity.

Even the former East German champions were surprised when 72,112 “ghosts” bought tickets, nearly three times their average attendance last season and more than twice their stadium’s capacity. Dresden said on their website that it would have been the third-biggest crowd ever to watch one of their games.

Lower-tier sides in Germany have been especially hard hit by having to play matches without fans – known in Germany as ‘ghosts matches’ – during the Covid-19 pandemic as they depend more heavily on gate receipts than Bundesliga teams.

“Every Dynamo can be proud of this. That is certainly unique in Germany,” said the Dresden striker Philipp Hosiner. It did not all go to plan for Dresden, however, as their second-tier opponents cantered to a 3-0 win while a planned choreography involving 30,000 biodegradable balloons had to be cancelled because of high winds.

Original article 23.12.20 on The Guardian website.

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