The Bundesliga will resume behind closed doors on 16 May, becoming the first European league to restart following the coronavirus shutdown.
One of the games of the day is the derby between Schalke and Borussia Dortmund, Which should be shown be shown live on BT Sport. Champions Bayern Munich, who are four points clear of Dortmund at the top of the table, travel to Union Berlin on Sunday. Most teams have nine games to play, with the final weekend of the season rescheduled for 27-28 June.
The German Football Association (DFB) said the season would resume under strict health protocols that ban fans from the stadium and require players to have Covid-19 testing. About 300 people, including players, staff and officials, will be in or around the stadiums during match days.
This come as good news for all football fans who have been starved off live football since March. The question is now Will the English Premier League and other Leagues across Europe follow Germany’s lead?
Germany has a lower death rate than the UK from the pandemic and Clubs returned to training in mid-April, with players working in groups. The prospect of the Premier League returning on the same date is minimal as players need to re-gain fitness however it may not be to long until it is resumed.
Prime minister Boris Johnson is due to address the nation with a new message at 7pm tonight (Sunday May 10th), the message is expected to be ” Stay Alert” rather than Stay Home, the message could be confusing but suggests lighter isolation restrictions which could in-turn mean they think it’s safe to allow football to return behind closed doors.
In worrying news Dynamo Dresden, who play in the second tier of German football, have put their entire squad and coaching staff into two-week isolation after two players tested positive for coronavirus. Bundesliga 2 is also due to restart on Saturday, 16 May. Elsewhere a third Brighton player has tested positive for coronavirus. Brighton players have been training individually at the training ground and the club say this will be allowed to continue. Premier League clubs are due to meet on Monday for more discussions about their proposed Project Restart plan.
Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish says that unless Premier League clubs can find a way to stage matches soon, it may be a “very, very extended period” before the top flight returns.Speaking on BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show, Parish said that initial plans for league matches to be staged again from June may prove unfeasible.
“We would be derelict in our duty if we didn’t find a way to try and bring the game back,” he said. “It may prove beyond us.”
At least three clubs – Watford, Brighton and Aston Villa – are opposed to the plan to stage matches at neutral venues under ‘Project Restart’, while club doctors have raised concerns over aspects of the proposals.
A previous wave of 1,724 tests carried out last week by the Bundesliga returned 10 positive results.
“The German example could provide a blueprint for us and clearly we can see some of the early challenges,” added Parish.
“They may prove insurmountable, but the concern for us is that if they prove insurmountable now then we may be in for a very, very extended period of not being able to play and that has huge ramifications for the game.”
Premier League chief executive Richard Masters has previously predicted a loss of “at least £1bn” if the Premier League fails to complete the 2019-20 campaign.
Parish believes that deciding the final league positions on the pitch, rather than relying on points per game or taking the current table as the final outcome, is preferable, even if conditions are far from ideal and this is something that I agree with.
Watching Football on TV even without crowds is something I am looking forward to in these times and Dortmund v Schalke is an exciting match to resume to.
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