As professional football returned to Denmark, fans used Zoom to be part of the action.
- A ‘Zoom wall’ down one side of the pitch showed the faces of thousands of fans watching from home
- Other leagues that have resumed without crowds have put scarves or fans’ photos on seats in empty stadiums
- DSL league leader FC Midtjylland is planning a “drive-in” for fans to watch their first home game from their cars
Thousands of fans logged into the video-conferencing software on Thursday evening and were transported into the Ceres Park stadium for a league game between AGF Aarhus and Randers that heralded the resumption of the country’s pandemic-affected season.
While the stadium itself was without fans, the faces of thousands of supporters who joined the Zoom call were shown on giant screens along one side of the field.
Families wearing club shirts and scarves cheered inside their living rooms. Some were seen clenching their fists in joy after Simon Piesinger scored with a lob from more than 35 metres out to put Randers, the visiting team, ahead in the 36th minute.
Aarhus equalised in stoppage minute and the game finished 1-1.
Ahead of the game, Aarhus described the ‘Zoom wall’ as the world’s first “virtual grandstand.”
Crowd noise was piped in for the match and there were cardboard “spectators” in place in the stands.
Games are being played without spectators in Denmark, like in other countries, amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The Danish Superliga has been suspended since March .
FC Midtjylland, the league leader, plays its first game back on Saturday at home against AC Horsens and is planning a “drive-in” where at least 2,000 supporters can watch the game from inside their cars outside the team’s ground.
Giant screens have been installed in the stadium’s parking lot and footage of the fans in their cars is set to be screened inside the arena.