Bundesliga return decision delayed with proposed May 9 restart looking impossible

Posted Friday, May 01, 2020 by Goal.com

Bundesliga return decision delayed with proposed May 9 restart looking impossible

The German government has not yet given the green light for top flight football to resume and a decision is set to be made next Wednesday

The Bundesliga faced fresh uncertainty over its resumption on Thursday after the German government delayed a decision on when football can return.

Germany's top two divisions were suspended on March 13 due to the coronavirus pandemic and league officials had hoped this week to get the green light to play games behind closed doors.

German Football League (DFL) chief executive Christian Seifert said last week the Bundesliga was ready to get back up and running from May 9, though he left the final decision in the hands of the government.

It later emerged that May 16 was a likelier date for the restart, yet widespread reports in Germany have now said there will be no decision reached until next Wednesday, May 6.

The reports said the move to delay a verdict on the Bundesliga's return was taken in a meeting involving chancellor Angela Merkel and the minister-presidents of Germany's 16 states.

Merkel and the state leaders are due to meet again next Wednesday and the latest information, attributed by Die Welt and other newspapers to unnamed participants in the meeting, indicates there is no longer any prospect of a May 9 return to action.

A statement from the league said: "DFL of course accepts that no decision over re-starting Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga was taken today. Alongside our medical and organisational teams, DFL and the clubs will carry on preparing to continue the season in May."

FIFA medical chief Michel D'Hooghe this week urged leagues to resist returning to action, even behind closed doors, while the coronavirus remains such a threat to public health. He suggested there should be no football until at least September.

It increases the uncertainty around German football, with Borussia Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke having claimed the Bundesliga "will go under" if the season does not resume in the next few months.

"If we don't play in the next few months, all of Bundesliga will go under and then there wouldn't be a league in the way we know it," Watzke told Sky TV. "Of course, many fans say: 'There's no desire for it, it's not on television', that is perfectly clear, but it's about saving football!

"We are doing all we can to get back to work, we don't want any special treatment, definitely not, but we don't want to be at a disadvantage either.

"Football can play a relevant role in society, but that's not the question, we have to do all we can to avoid that someone says football has special treatment. We don't want to start with a special position, but, again, you can't compare football with other more popular sports, we want to do our jobs."

There have been more than 206,900 Covid-19 casualties worldwide, with over 5,900 deaths in Germany.


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