In an unexpected turn of events, The German Football League (the DFL) has given the go-ahead for the Bundesliga to return behind closed doors in just over two weeks time.
The 36 professional clubs met on Thursday to discuss a potential restart of the season, with the outcome being that both the DFL and the clubs are eager to complete the current season and are happy to play games again.
After the meeting, Bundesliga chief executive Christian Seifert said: “If we should start on May 9, we are ready. If it is later we will be ready again.”
While undoubtedly encouraging news, it isn’t quite settled just yet.
Return date “not in our hands”
Of course, the decision to return to sporting action is dependant on other parties too.
The DFL will need approval from all federal states in Germany to resume the season, while Chancellor Angela Merkel and the country’s medical experts will also have to weigh in on the situation.
Seifert hinted at the situation after the meeting, stating: “For us, what is decisive is what the politicians will decide. It is not for us to decide when.”
However, the Bundesliga chief also mentioned the importance of getting back up and running in order to save some clubs from an “existence-threatening” financial disaster.
Testing is key
Politicans aren’t the only potential pitfalls this resumption plan could face. Ensuring there is adequate testing for all players and staff involved is absolutely essential to prevent an unavoidable outbreak of COVID-19.
This presents a real logistical challenge, as even behind closed doors a professional football match could require well over 100 people present to run.
The DFL are well aware of this problem and set up a task force to plan for it a few weeks ago. These plans include splitting stadiums into three separate zones and limiting the amount of people allowed in each zone, as well as regular testing of players and coaches between every match and training session.
The requirement? Up to 20,000 tests.
Despite the challenges the DFL and professional clubs face, there’s clearly increased optimism surrounding the immediate future of sport. The fact that this meeting was even held and a date as early as May 9th announced means that the DFL are confident that it’s possible.
They may be being overly ambitious with a two week preparation period, but a return to top tier action is surely on the horizon now.
More FST News: