After weeks of dormancy in the game, there’s some respite finally as the German government gave a green light for the Bundesliga to return later this month.
If it happens, Germany will be the first of Europe’s top five leagues to resume their league season after it was suspended in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic. But there is a chunk of caveats.
- Matches will be played behind closed doors
- No more than 322 people will be allowed to each ground
- Teams will arrive separately to avoid unnecessary contact
- Players will be required to practice social distancing
- That means staying 1.5metres apart in the changing room
- Squads will walk through the tunnel separately.
- Pre-match handshakes and photographs are cancelled
- Players will be tested for COVID 19 at least once a week.
- Only players with two consecutive negative tests will be allowed to play
- If a player tests positive, clubs do not have to inform the press
- And the rest of the squad will not be sent into quarantine.
All of these will certainly make the game feel different and a little weird but it is the best possible way to get things running again.
German chancellor Angela Merkel made the announcement Wednesday morning and said Bundesliga players will not have to quarantine for 14 days because of the club’s regular testing capacity.
The news has, however, been met with some level of excitement.
German journalist Rapheal Honigstein tweeted “… and we are back” moments after the announcement while the Schalke 04 account posted a photo of their turf with a caption highlighting the league’s return.
But what are the implications of this decision and why the zeal to get back playing again in these times?
Nigerian Journalist who lives in Germany and actively follows the Bundesliga, Oma Akatugba, says the decision was purely taken on business terms.
“I think it is a decision purely taken on business reasons,” he said via a video link.
“The Bundesliga is a big media property and according to the CEO of the Bundesliga, Christian Seifert, not allowing football to return will be a big loss to the Bundesliga and to a lot of clubs. He said that they will be losing so much money and of course it has been predicted that they will lose something around 700m Euros. That might put one of three Bundesliga clubs in financial crisis. So it is basically a decision taken on business on business grounds. Any other thing, will be just mere talk.”
Football fans, players, club administrators and betting companies will all be smiling at this bold decision and will hope other countries can follow the example set by Germany even as the world struggles to deal with this deadly virus.
By Yaw Ofosu Larbi|3news.com|Ghana