A German Soccer Club Came Up With an Oddly Ingenious Way to Fill Its Empty Stadium

Cardboard cuts outs of fans inside the stadium prior to the Bundesliga match between Borussia Moenchengladbach and Bayer 04 Leverkusen at Borussia-Park on May 23, 2020.Ina Fassbender/Pool via Getty Images

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Germany’s professional soccer league has resumed play with fans banned due to coronavirus, so one team found an unusual way to fill empty stadium seats.

Borussia Mönchengladbach, currently in fourth place in the Bundesliga, reportedly placed more than 12,000 cardboard cutouts of fans in their 54,000 stadium. These are real likenesses of season ticket holders who shelled out 19 euros each to have their facsimiles present for the contest. According to the Associated Press, the cutouts are the brainchild of the team’s fan club, which is using some of the proceeds to maintain the jobs of seven of the club’s workers, whose jobs have been under threat due to the soccer shutdown. A small portion is also supposed to help pay for a boy to receive treatment for spinal muscular atrophy.

This is kind of thing that German soccer fan clubs, which are notoriously intense and well organized, do. It’s tough to imagine Astros season ticket holders, or any American sports fans, dispatching cardboard cutouts of themselves to games. But what about politics? As Republican and Democratic parties mull holding their nominating conventions this summer, they might want to take a note.

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In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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