The Bundesliga may start playing again on May 9th. Without a spectator and with a special hygiene and safety concept, the season could then come to an end after a break of around two months.
The representatives of the clubs will meet on Thursday at the general meeting of the German Football League (DFL). With the continuation of the season and the payment of the last television payment, clubs could avert an impending bankruptcy. WELT answers the most important questions about the upcoming ghost games.
How safe is May 9 as a starting date?
On Monday, the Prime Ministers of Bavaria, Markus Söder, and North Rhine-Westphalia, Armin Laschet, declared at “Bild” that the season could continue. They mentioned May 9 as a possible date.
The Federal Ministry of the Interior, however, is against giving an appointment for the resumption of the Bundesliga games. This is the result of a letter from the State Secretary Stephan Mayer (CSU) to the Chair of the Conference of Ministers of Sport, Bremen Senator Anja Stahmann (Greens). It states that the measures that the Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) initially agreed with the heads of state of the federal states until May 3 to contain the corona virus also apply “without restriction” to sport. This was also discussed at a conference call by the sports minister.
The ministry is ready to “participate in conceptual considerations”. In view of the difficult pandemic situation, however, no openings or loosening for the sports business “at a specific date” should be promised.
How do the clubs react?
As expected, positive. Most club representatives do not want to comment in detail until after the DFL meeting. Oliver Mintzlaff, CEO of RB Leipzig, said “Bild”: “It would be nice if we could give the fans a bit of joie de vivre and normalcy again through football. The latest signals from politics are positive. ”
Mintzlaff emphasized that politicians should deal with the opportunities that are emerging. “We see this as a clear mandate to continue to act very responsibly and in accordance with all measures to protect health. So it has been worked out very well in the concept of the DFL. ”
Werder Bremen midfielder Maximilian Eggestein said that a restart must be socially acceptable. “Football shouldn’t have an extra role there.”
What are the scheduling problems in terms of the schedule?
From May 9th until the end of June, eight weekends will be available. There are still nine game days to be played. At least one would have to be played during the week. Probably even two match days, provided the DFB Cup final is to be played over a weekend. In addition, the catch-up game is between Werder Bremen and Eintracht Frankfurt as well as the semi-finals in the cup. It is also unclear how things will continue in the European Cup. With the FC Bayern, RB Leipzig (both Champions League), Bayer Leverkusen, VfL Wolfsburg and Eintracht Frankfurt (all Europe League) there are still five German clubs represented.
How would the league test the players?
The DFL is apparently considering testing players, coaches and members of the functional teams every three days with a rapid test on Corona. By the end of the season, around 20,000 tests would probably be due. There is criticism to which the DFL responded in a statement Tuesday. “It goes without the facts if it is assumed that a possible close-knit test causes undersupply of the population,” it says.
The test capacities were increased massively. This is confirmed, among other things, by the Accredited Laboratories in Medicine (ALM). “According to the latest surveys, 640,000 tests are currently available there per week, which corresponds to an increase in daily capacities of more than 300 percent in the past five weeks. The DFL concept currently under discussion requires less than 0.5 percent of the current test capacity, ”said the DFL. According to the ALM, the existing capacities would not be exhausted. “Should future developments – e.g. a second wave of corona infections – if there are actually bottlenecks, the DFL will of course not affect the supply of the population. ”
In the statement, the DFL also calls for a rethink among the clubs: “The DFL Presidium knows about the social responsibility of professional football. In this context, it is up to all decision-makers to also practice self-criticism with a view to undesirable developments in recent years. There is no question that sustainability, stability and down-to-earthness will have to be key values in the future. Once the acute crisis has been overcome, these values need to be translated into concrete measures. “
How does the Robert Koch Institute see it all?
Critical. This became clear at a press conference held by the institute. When asked whether it was reasonable to use corona tests for the Bundesliga, RKI Vice President Lars Schaade replied: “I don’t see why certain sections of the population, whether they are athletes – you can also think of everything else that might be has a certain social interest – why they should be routinely screened. “
Would you play in all Bundesliga stadiums?
From the DFL’s point of view, that would be the ideal case. Should further delays or complications arise, an EM or express model could serve as a compromise solution. In the EM model, a few fixed venues in the north, west, south and east would be named, where several games are played per day. This would make logistics easier and reduce the number of people involved. In a rush model, the timing could be even closer, so that teams compete, for example, every two days.
How do the teams travel?
So far, the teams often fly to away games. This would also be possible with machines made available exclusively for the teams. In addition, the clubs are likely to rely on the train and their team buses, especially with shorter distances.
Who can still go to the stadium?
When the ghost games are played, the number of security guards, journalists and club employees should be reduced to a minimum. Around 250 working people are targeted. There would also be strict hygienic requirements in the stadium.
Do players now need permanent isolation?
The player union VDV has spoken out against such a model. In the event of the resumption of gaming with ghost games, the players would be skeptical of isolation, said managing director Ulf Baranowsky. The employment contracts would not provide for such quarantine camps. “The players also doubt that this could significantly reduce the risk of infection,” he emphasized. “Of course, the players also want the ball to be able to roll again as soon as possible,” said Baranowsky, but only on the condition that this was responsible from a medical point of view.
Do other sports take football as an example?
As President of the German Olympic Sports Association, Alfons Hörmann spoke out against special solutions for individual sports. In a conversation with the sports ministers, it quickly became clear that “it doesn’t work if we enter into a mutual competition. And now, every day or every other day, new special solutions are created for any sport or for certain groups of athletes, ”Hörmann told the SWR.
The point is not that a special situation for the football leagues should be created alone, “but if there is a possibility of ghost games, why should basketball or handball not also benefit from it”.