Bundesliga ready to resume on May 9 pending government approval, says CEO Seifert. Bundesliga CEO Christian Seifert has said that the league will be ready to return to competitive, although government approval will be required before an official decision is made.
The German Football League (DFL) have set a date of May 9 for a return of Bundesliga and their second division behind closed doors.
With nine matches still to play, Bundesliga was brought to a halt last month as Germany became one of the hotspots of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, new cases of COVID-19 has seen a dip in recent times takes and the nation has now implemented partial relaxation on its strict lockdown protocols.
Now, Germany’s Bundesliga could become one of the first European leagues to return to action behind closed doors.
Its 36 professional football clubs met on Thursday to discuss a restart for next month and it would make them the first top-flight European League to begin playing again.
DFL chief executive Christian Seifert said: “If we start on 9 May, we are ready. If it is later, we will be ready again.
“Games without spectators are not what we want – but at the moment it is the only thing that seems feasible.”
According to recent plans drawn up by the recently assembled DFL Task Force, the stadiums will be divided into three zones and only a maximum of 100 people can be in each of these sections.
The inner section consists of 22 players, 18 bench players, five referees and an estimated 53 others. The stands are considered the second section and the area surrounding the stadium is the third one.
The plans also involve frequent testing of players and coaches between training sessions and before every match. Biochemist Alexander Kekule from Martin Luther University in Halle estimated that the DFL would need around 20,000 detection tests in order to complete the nine remaining rounds of fixtures.
In addition Kekule said: “Players have to be shielded under specific safety rules to prevent infections, because they are not able to avoid contact on the pitch.”
Clubs in Germany have already been back in training for three weeks, albeit in small groups observing social distancing
The final approval will, however, ultimately rest with the German chancellor Angela Merkel and the 16 regional state premiers who are due to meet on April 30.
Merkel has already announced plans to start slowly easing restrictions, however, large events with crowds have been banned until at least the end of August.
This rules out the prospect of the Bundesliga being played in front of spectators until the scheduled start of next season.
Despite the potential unrest, both politically and backlash from influential fan groups, football clubs are very keen to restart the season.
This is because, according to a recent DFL report from late March, at least 13 of the 36 Bundesliga and Second Division sides could face insolvency if the season does not start in either May or June.
Not everyone in Germany is in agreement, with nationwide fan group ‘Unsere Kurve’ condemning the move by saying: “Football cannot act in isolation from the situation in society as a whole.
“If the game continues like this, we’re out.”
While Muller‘s Bayern Munich teammate Niklas Sule said: “There are more important thing than football at the moment.”