Germany’s government has approved plans for the country’s Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga football league to return this month, with dates set to be confirmed at a meeting tomorrow (7 May).
The Bundesliga will resume behind closed doors, with all players, team staff and officials to be subject to strict measures to protect against the novel coronavirus (Covid-19).
All matches in the Bundesliga have been postponed since mid-March, when an initial suspension was put in place until 2 April, though this was later extended to at least the end of that month.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel today announced that the country is now past the first phase of the pandemic and will relax more measures that have been in place for a number of weeks.
Certain restrictions had already been lifted, but the latest declaration means that large shops will now be permitted to reopen, while two households will be able to meet in public and all schools can resume teaching. However, no new updates were issued in regards to gambling and betting venues in the country, while social distancing measures will remain in place.
Bundesliga players returned to training in recent weeks ahead of the league’s anticipated restart. Today’s confirmation means that the Bundesliga will be the first major league to resume amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
The Deutsche Fussball Liga (DFL), the sport’s governing body in Germany, will meet tomorrow to discuss further details as to when the league will return, with the weekend of 16-17 May a possible restart date.
The government also requested the DFL and Bundesliga look at other measures to ensure the safety of players and staff, including potentially having training camps before all matches and ongoing testing for players.
Earlier this week, the Bundesliga revealed that as of 4 May, it had carried out 1,724 tests on the 36 clubs across the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 since 30 April, identifying 10 cases in the process.
Germany has experienced a relatively low impact of coronavirus in comparison to other large European countries, recording over 167,000 positive results and just under 7,000 deaths.
In contrast, the UK has reported 194,990 cases and 29,427 to date, while Spain has seen 253,682 cases and 25,857 deaths, and Italy 213,013 cases and 29,315 related deaths.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that English Premier League will meet again on May 11 discuss and vote on plans for the 2019-20 season, with the organisation reiterating its desire to complete the campaign. The competition, as well as all other major leagues around the world, have been suspended since the middle of March.