Bundesliga pushes restart back a week, but still plans for May kick-off

April 15 – Germany has postponed the decision over the Bundesliga’s imminent return by a week, the German Football League (DFL) announced. 

The coronavirus pandemic represents the longest shutdown of elite football since the Second World War and as domestic leagues around the world struggle to plan for the future, the Bundesliga offered a glimpse of normality by planning to resume play at the start of May, but that decision has now been delayed by a week.

In a statement, the DFL wrote the delay is to give clubs and the league “extra time” to prepare for “upcoming decisions”, implying that the future of Germany’s top two leagues is still in the balance. Next week, continental governing body UEFA will also discuss the precarious and divisive situation of European football at its executive committee meeting.

German football has been suspended since March, but last week Bundesliga clubs resumed training, the biggest sign yet that they planned a restart. DFL chief executive Christian Seifert revealed that the Bundesliga was contemplating staging matches behind closed doors from as early as the first week of May.

The DFL estimates that even in empty stadiums 240 people will be required to ensure a Bundesliga match can proceed and be televised. Such numbers would require a huge number of testing kits to complete the season in a manner that protects the health and well-being of everyone involved.

Germany has been a role model country in combatting the coronavirus outbreak. As of Wednesday early morning, Germany had registered 125,000 confirmed cases of the disease and 2,969 deaths, according to the World Health Organisation. The German government is considering a possible phased relaxation of the nationwide restrictions that were imposed to combat the spread of the virus.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1594172330labto1594172330ofdlr1594172330owedi1594172330sni@o1594172330fni1594172330