German Bundesliga accepts 'great responsibility' to pull off restart

The Bundesliga will be the first of Europe's big leagues to resume play following the coronavirus outbreak after getting the green light from the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The government gave the Bundesliga and second-tier 2. Bundesliga permission to restart behind closed doors as part of a series of measures to further relax restrictions in Germany. Measures for the reopening of department stores and shopping malls were approved, as well as a phased reopening of restaurants and bars by May 22.

Approval was expected after weeks of planning and negotiations between the German league (DFL) and German federal officials and state leaders. Some teams have been training in small groups for more than a month.

A 51-page document titled the Hygienekonzept laid out a detailed plan of who will be at the matches, a maximum of 322 people for Bundesliga games. It calls for 20,000 tests for the coronavirus to be administered, not just to players but also their families. If a player tests positive, he will have to self-quarantine, but his teammates -- and opponents -- won't.

Before play resumes, the DFL will have to pick a date for the restart of league play, which was suspended on March 13 with nine games to play. The likely date is May 15 though some favored May 22. A decision will be confirmed when the DFL assembles on Thursday.

Players and staff will have to go into isolation for a week before play can start. With a May 15 start date expected, teams will have to move into hotels this weekend. The original plan of the German government called for a 14-day isolation period.

Christian Seifert, the DFL CEO, had pushed for the restart, arguing that clubs faced financial ruin if the season couldn't be completed.

“Today’s decision is good news for the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga," he said. "It is associated with a great responsibility for the clubs and their employees to implement the medical and organizational 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."

The decision had its detractors. Karl Lauterbach, a health expert in the Social Democrat Party, said it was "disappointing and wrong,'' driven by business interests.

6 comments about "German Bundesliga accepts 'great responsibility' to pull off restart".
  1. Randy Vogt, May 7, 2020 at 6:24 a.m.

    A victory for common sense over fear. Good for the Bundesliga in getting the ball rolling and let's have the other pro leagues restarted when their governments deem it appropriate, all without spectators for now. Although recreational soccer cannot do all the testing that the Bundesliga is doing, let's restart organized soccer as soon as social distancing and masks are no longer needed as soccer remains a healthy, cardiovascular sport.

  2. Seth Vieux replied, May 7, 2020 at 4:43 p.m.


  3. TJ Kostecky, May 7, 2020 at 8:12 a.m.

    Amen Randy!

  4. Mike Lynch, May 7, 2020 at 11:30 a.m.

    The Bundesliga appears to be going forward in a prudent manner, not reckless, not greedy, not in a fashion to make sure we all know they are accepting, "great responsibility." Following the league's approx 250 total people working/playing in a match that is being watched on TV by millions at thier individual homes or at individual bars that are following local health guidelines (max number allowed to gather) seems like being prudent and responsible, not the "how dare you, greedy pro soccer teams" attitude that seems like some are rooting for failure. The data available now is not the data available mid-March when we went into lockdown. It's not just the curve is flattened but also the curve was not accurate. Doesn't mean the league will not have to be suspended again should the data change but equally valid to start as it was then to stop. 

  5. Seth Vieux replied, May 7, 2020 at 4:44 p.m.


  6. Guy Walling, May 8, 2020 at 8:34 a.m.

    Fear is valid, unlike what others say. Being prudent is smart and testing everyone is definitely prudent, unlike what our leadership, or lack of leadership in this country believes. At least, our own league is being cautious and being smart and hopefully follows the pridence of the Germany by testing everyone!! Unlike this country where our leadership doesn't feel it necessary to test anyone just to keep the numbers low. Our numbers and deaths are continually rising, but yet we still want to open everything. Test everyone first such as athletes in this country then open the leagues. Please care about those who are dying and still dying. What if this athlete, parent, or grandparent was your family? From a medical point of view it's still reality! And fear is still valid!

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