The German government has approved the country’s two top footballing divisions, the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga, to restart this month.
Elite football in Germany has been suspended since the weekend ending 8th March, after the impact of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) intensified.
But in recent weeks, Chancellor Angela Merkel has gradually begun to ease the country’s strict lockdown.
Games in both divisions will be played behind closed doors.
Past the first phase
Yesterday, Merkel announced that Germany has passed the ‘first phase’ of the pandemic. Schools will be allowed to begin teaching again, while larger shops shall also be permitted to open their doors.
The country’s football governing body, the Deutsche Fußball Lifa (DFL), will meet today to discuss a weekend for matches to resume. It’s possible that they could begin as early as 16th – 17th May.
DFL CEO Christian Seifert shared his thoughts on Merkel’s decision, which were as follows.
“Today’s decision is good news for Bundesliga and 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.
“Matches without stadium spectators are not an ideal solution for anyone. However, during this crisis, which threatens the existence of some clubs, it is the only option to preserve the leagues in their present form.
“Today I’d like to thank the decision-makers at the state and federal level for placing their confidence in us”.
Players are back in training, while the government has asked for extra safety measures to be taken. These could include training camps prior to each game, along with ongoing testing.
The Bundesliga has revealed that as of 4th May, 1,724 tests had been carried out on the top two divisions’ 36 clubs since 30th April. 10 individuals tested positive for the virus.
Other sports could return soon
Sports betting has been dormant since mid-March, with major sporting events across the globe suspended due to the ongoing pandemic. The Dutch Eredivisie has declared its current season void, while Ligue 1 in France has concluded the campaign early.
However, things could slowly begin to open up again.
Real-life NASCAR is also planning to return this month, with its virtual version filling the gap in recent months. The New Hampshire Lottery integrated this to its offerings towards the end of April.
The Premier League is also set to meet on 11th May to talk about what they plan to do with the 2019-2020 season. It has been reiterated that, if possible, the organisation wishes to finish the campaign. Italy’s Serie A has also expressed its desire to complete this season if possible.