German Chancellor Angela Merkel has confirmed that the German football season can resume, albeit behind closed doors.
The Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2, Germany’s top two divisions, are set to become the first European football divisions to resume football after their suspension in light of the Coronavirus crisis.
Dates for the return to matches will be confirmed tomorrow by the DFL, German football’s governing body, with a likely start in mid-May.
When the German football season was suspended, leaders Bayern Munich were four points clear of 2nd place Borussia Dortmund, with nine games left to play.
The news comes despite confirmation from the DFL that 10 positive tests for the virus have been confirmed in the top two divisions from unnamed staff or players.
Germany has always been likely to return early, with teams returning to training several weeks ago.
Haappy to be back 😁 pic.twitter.com/8cHbEfeIER
— Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) April 24, 2020
Dormund CEO Hanz-Joachim Watzke said in a statement:
“We will – in the knowledge there can be no guarantees – do everything in our power to ensure the highest-possible degree of safety in order to prevent any new infections among the players and their families.
Having to play behind closed doors is an enormous challenge, especially for a club like BVB, which draws a lot of strength from the passion of its supporters. However, it would not have been economically viable for the clubs to allow the Bundesliga to pause until spectators were allowed back into the stadiums.”
Other leagues which have looked at continuing are Turkey, where the Super Lig is expected to return on June 12 before the country hosts the Champions League final in August, whilst the Croatian PRVA LIGA could return behind closed doors as early as the end of May.
Germany’s coronavirus death toll is currently just under 7,000, much lower than other European countries like Italy, Spain and indeed the UK.