The Bundesliga is set to be the first major European football league to continue following the Coronavirus outbreak. Germany’s top-flight – Bundesliga II will also resume – is scheduled to continue on the 16th of May – three months after indefinite postponement. Games will be behind closed doors, with the country making it clear that mass gatherings will not be permitted until at least 31st August. DFL president Christian Seifert has confirmed that six matches will take place this weekend, including Borussia Dortmund vs Schalke 04.
Seifert said: “The decision is good news for the Bundesliga and the Bundesliga 2.
“It is associated with a great responsibility for the clubs and their employees to implement the medical and organisational requirements in a disciplined manner.
“Games without spectators are not an ideal solution for anyone. In a crisis threatening the very existence of some clubs, however, it is the only way to keep the leagues in their current form.
Football fans across the world have been restricted from watching the beautiful game for months. German football will attract many viewers on the tv – BT Sport have been contracted to show these games – and the leagues look destined to grow in popularity
Deutschland’s chancellor Angela Merkel has given officials the green light to play as long as teams adhere to strict rules. After last Wednesday’s meeting, the government stated: “The Federal Chancellor and the heads of government of the federal states consider the continuation of play in the 1st and 2nd Bundesliga to be justifiable for the 36 clubs eligible to start there at their expense from the second half of May. DFL determines the specific match dates.”
The resumption of football will be a boost for morale, with quarantine proving to be fairly boring. However, staff and player’s safety are at risk; this decision will presumably cost lives.
There is also confusion among Bundesliga 2 fans. The Dynamo Dresden squad is in self-isolation for two weeks after some players tested positive for COVID 19. Yet, the league will continue as normal. Seifert was quoted responding to this confusion by saying: “It’s 14 days in quarantine and then we’ll have to see how we’re going to run the Dynamo Dresden games next week.
“It does not yet mean that the 2. Bundesliga cannot continue, because only two games have been affected so far, but it is clear that, if it happens enough, it would no longer be possible to end the season.”
Premier League officials will certainly be looking closely at the situation in Germany as they plot their own return. The English league is looking likely to continue, despite the controversy of the plan named “Project Restart”.
Many have feared that fans could gather outside stadiums, spreading the disease ignorantly. However, some leading supporter groups have said they aren’t planning to do this.
The Robert Koch Institute released data on Wednesday, stating that Germany had 164,807 confirmed cases of the virus, with over 137,000 people recovered and 6,996 deaths.
Elsewhere in Europe, France, Belgium and the Netherlands have cancelled their seasons with Spain, England and Italy hoping for a June return. The Bundesliga will lead by example, as they attempt to restart the season successfully.