Sports

Bundesliga given green light to resume action from May 15

Thursday, May 7th, 2020 00:00 |
Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski reacts during a past Bundesliga match. Photo/PD/FILE

Munich, Wednesday

The Bundesliga has been given the green light to resume in the coming weeks by chancellor Angela Merkel – with May 15 the earliest possible day for a restart. 

A leaked document on Wednesday said German football’s return would be delayed with suggestions that the first fixtures could only be held after a two-week quarantine of all teams.  

But initial demands for that extended spell have been removed from the document and the German government has now granted approval for a return of the league in the second half of May after a series of meetings, with Merkel commenting: ‘We can safely state the first phase of the pandemic is behind us.’

The government has told the Bundesliga, according to Bild, that they can pick a date in that timeframe for a return.

The earliest option available would see the first action played on May 15.

After the decision in Wednesday’s meeting of German states and chancellor Merkel, the league now has to decide whether to start on May 15 or 22.

All games will have to take place behind closed doors – or, as they are known in Germany, as ‘ghost games’.

Merkel commented: ‘We have talked about sports and recreation and the Bundesliga, which will be able to resume operation soon.’

A further meeting of the league and the clubs will now be held on Thursday to decide when the first match will take place. 

Chancellor Merkel held a meeting with the 16 heads of state on Wednesday morning at 10am to discuss Germany’s plans for easing the lockdown – with some measures having been lifted on Monday. 

And one of the topics was the return of football – with approval given to a plan to allow a resumption from May 15.

While the majority of states were keen on that date for a resumption, Rhineland-Palatinate and Bremen suggested it should take place later.

There are concerns at Werder Bremen that their players will not be fit enough to restart as they have not been allowed to train due to restrictions in their state – and they believe they need 14 days of preparation.

They are calling for the league to begin again later than the mooted May 15 date. 

The Bundesliga had initially hoped to resume on May 9, although that was pushed back. 

There were concerns that a series of incidents over the last few days could have caused issues. Salomon Kalou was suspended by Hertha Berlin after filming himself violating hygiene protocols – shaking hands with team-mates, for example.

The first two rounds of tests held earlier this week revealed there had been 10 positive coronavirus cases.

Meanwhile, Bundesliga 2 side Aue sent their whole team into isolation on Tuesday after a staff member tested positive.

Health minister Jens Spahn said on Wednesday that there had to be strict punishment for violations of the coronavirus protocols: ‘We have seen in the past few days that some players have to be more aware that something is at stake.

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