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How Bundesliga is dealing with the COVID-19 crisis

Bundesliga 2019-2020 season RESUMES: All you need to know about the German league's measures to deal with the coronavirus pandemic

May 7, 2020 By Emmanuel K. Budu-Annor
After a pause due to the COVID-19 crisis, the Bundesliga finally is set to get underway on May 16th, but with some new rules and regulations in place.

It is official. The German Football League (DFL) has finally announced its decision to postpone the weekend's matchday fixtures across the Bundesliga and second tier Bundesliga 2 with the coronavirus pandemic on an astronomical rise. In a statement released on Friday, March 13, the league's governing body also called for the two leagues to be suspended until April 2 as a means to contain the virus in circulation.

Following the World Health Organization's declaration of the coronavirus as a pandemic, a number of leagues all over Europe have since initiated protocols to prevent the infection toll from raising. A number of games spanning across domestic and continental ties were played in empty stadiums whereas others were canceled due the risks they posed.

In Germany, an intervention by the DFL was only implemented after the league's governing body was subjected to criticism by players and other stakeholders with the games supposed to come off as scheduled. Originally, it had been planned for all games from March 17 to be withheld.

Ahead of a general assembly on Monday, March 16 where a proposal to momentarily halt the league until April 2 was submitted, the German Football League revealed in its statement that the decision to suspend the weekend's matches was arrived at "in view of the dynamics of today's events with new coronavirus infections and corresponding suspected cases directly related to the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2".

The governing body's statement added: "The goal is still to end the season by the summer - from a sporting point of view, but especially because an early end of the season could have existential consequences for some clubs."

FAQ - How is the German Bundesliga dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic?

When will the Bundesliga return to action?

The Bundesliga has been granted permission to return in the 2nd half of May by the government, with an anticipated kick-off date set for May 16. The German top-flight will become the first major European league to resume the 2019/20 season, with games set to be held behind closed doors as expected. 

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WE CAN'T WAIT! The @bundesliga_en returns!! Green light given by the German government.

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Are there any players or coaches who have tested positive for coronavirus among Bundesliga teams?

Timo Hubers of Hannover 96 players Timo Hubers and Jannes Horn tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, becoming the first two officially recorded cases in the Bundesliga. A club statement released by Paderborn on Friday revealed that defender Luca Kilian tested positive for coronavirus. As a result, every staff and first-team member of the Paderborn will be subjected to tests on Saturday.

Will any Bundesliga games be played in empty stadiums?

Yes, pretty much. The coronavirus crisis has created what we will all know as a "new normal" going forward, and as a result, a set of stringent rules have been put into place.

What are some of the changes fans can expect once the Bundesliga resumes?

To protect players, coaches, staff, and fans, there are quite a few new rules and regulations now in place. Some of these include:

  • A maximum of 300 people in the stadium at a time. This includes players, coaches, and essential staff (medical personnel, other club employees, security, cameramen, journalists etc).
  • Players must practice social distancing when on the bench.
  • Press conferences will be conducted virtually.
  • All medical staff must wear personal protective equipment (PPE's) at all times.
  • All players will be tested for COVID-19 once weekly.
  • Players will be kept in quarantine or isolated training camps for the rest of the season.
  • Players will dress in separate locker rooms and will be kept apart from substitutes.
  • Players from the home team will drive themselves to matches in their own cars - as opposed to coming together on the team bus.
  • Visiting players will travel in small designated groups in specific vehicles that will be sanitized after each use.
  • Players will also shower separately.
  • Fans will not be allowed into the stadium, thus creating what are known as "ghost games".
  • However, unlike the K-League, there is no ban on spitting or close-quarter conversations on the pitch.

Who would have won the Bundesliga title if the 2019-20 season had been scrapped due to the coronavirus crisis?

The German Football League (DFL) held a general assembly on Monday, March 16 where the potential scenarios of how the league title would be awarded was discussed.

UPDATE: The season will resume on May 16, and Bayern, Dortmund, and Leipzig are all viable contenders for the title. If it had been scrapped, then die Roten would have possibly been crowned champions at the matchday 25 point.

What are some of the top games that could have been cancelled if the Bundesliga season did not resume?

A number of games could have had a huge significance on the league standings at the end of the season. The clash between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich that was initially scheduled for April 4 was one of these massive clashes. Other games included the following:

  • Borussia Monchengladbach vs Bayer Leverkusen

  • Bayer Leverkusen vs Wolfsburg

  • Borussia Dortmund vs Schalke

  • Wolfsburg vs Borussia Dortmund

  • Bayer Leverkusen vs Wolfsburg.

Fortunately, however, with things back on track, all of these crucial clashes will be getting underway - albeit under a new set of rules over the upcoming weeks.

Follow LiveSoccer TV for further updates on how all other leagues in the world will deal with the coronavirus pandemic, and when they will return to action if that ends up happening.

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