Bundesliga to resume in Germany from May 16


Bundesliga to resume on May 16 Image: MJR Group Ltd./Coliseum

The Federal and State Governments in Germany have given the go-ahead for resumption of matches without spectators in the Bundesliga from May 16, 2020. Germany will be the first major European soccer league to resume games.

A decision to this effect was taken by Chancellor Angela Merkel and the State premiers during a meeting held on Wednesday. This means that the German Soccer League, as the umbrella organization of the 36 professional clubs of the 1st and 2nd leagues, will receive the long hoped-for permission for ghost games.

The Bundesliga is a professional association football league in Germany and the football league with the highest average stadium attendance worldwide. At the top of the German football league system, the Bundesliga is Germany’s primary football competition.

According to media reports, the 36 clubs have already been informed in a letter from Deutsche Fußball Liga (DFL) CEO Christian Seifert.

“After weighing up all the arguments, the DFL Executive Committee decided on Wednesday by circular letter to resume play in the Bundesliga and 2nd Bundesliga from May 16, 2020,” it said.

“It’s a great responsibility for the clubs to implement the medical and organizational guidelines in a disciplined manner,” Seifert added, referring to the DFL’s plans to restart play behind closed doors and in keeping with strict hygiene protocols and – to whatever extent is possible – physical distancing.

The fact that the DFL has got the nod to resume play even though a general government ban on mass public events remains in place, is not without its share of critics.

Karl Lauterbach, a prominent health expert with Chancellor Merkel’s coalition partners, the Social Democrats, slammed the decision as “disappointing and wrong”, saying it was driven by commercial interests.

However, Bavarian State Premier Markus Söder defended the move – “This compromise regarding football is absolutely justifiable – even though this is a controversial subject,” Söder said.

Under the DFL’s plan to protect the health of all involved, the games are only to go ahead after players have undergone a sufficient quarantine period in the form of training camps. Originally that period had been 14 days, but one week may also be possible with regular testing and negative test results.

The news comes as the rate of new COVID-19 cases in Germany dropped below 1,000 per day for the first time since mid-March.

Ban on major events

However, the ban on major events in Germany remains and is being extended till August 31 due to coronavirus spreading like wild fire the world over. Festivals, concerts, marksmen’s festivals and other events are not allowed until the end of August. Sports events will not be held for the time being either.

The Marksmen’s festival is a traditional festival or fair featuring a target shooting competition in the cultures of both Germany and Switzerland.

Major events are to be prohibited until August 31 keeping in mind the fatal respiratory disease taking a huge toll on lives. The Prime Ministers of the Federal States and Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed on this principle ban at a switching conference held recently. Until August 31, “we have neither medicine nor vaccine,” said Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder at a press conference in Berlin recently.

Specific regulations, such as the size of the events, should be laid down by the respective Federal States. Huge concerts, marksmen’s festivals or funfair events have been banned. The ban has been enforced to help arrest the fast spreading coronavirus and has sent out a clear message for the various event organizers, and several clubs.

The researchers at German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina had previously recommended that events should not take place until a vaccine against the Sars-CoV-2 virus is developed. Only then should social, cultural and sporting events “only gradually become possible again, depending on the possible spatial distance and the contact intensities of those involved”.

The German National Academy of Natural Sciences Leopoldina, short Leopoldina, is the national academy of Germany, and is located in Halle.

Coronavirus count

The coronavirus count to date in Germany stands at 168,162 and the number of deaths – 7,275.

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