Games behind closed doors inevitable for German Bundesliga, says league chairman

2020-03-10 22:45:52Xinhua Editor : Zhao Yuning ECNS App Download
Special: Battle Against Novel Coronavirus

Games behind closed doors now seem inevitable for the German Bundesliga. After growing numbers of coronavirus infections across the country and two reported deaths, the league associations chairman Christian Seifert called games with fans "illusionary."

The association announced games of the first and second division will take place and it is up to the local authorities if spectators are allowed or not.

Seifert said to continue to play is a must as national and international competition such as relegation issues and qualification of international competitions are affected.

Not only would the 26 rounds of matches of the 2019/2020 season be affected, but also the re-scheduled match between Borussia Moenchengladbach and FC Cologne this Wednesday.

The Bavarian government is expected to cancel all events with over 1000 people until April 10. A corresponding announcement has been made in advance of today's meeting of the ruling chamber. The government said it intends to follow the advice of the federal health minister to skip all big events.

In the country's federal political system, local health authorities decide in states and smaller regions about to run large-scale events or not.

The German health minister's recommendation to consider cancelling all events with more than 1000 people isn't compulsory but rather a suggestion.

The expected decision is going to affect Bayern Munich's home games such as the second leg of the last-16-round of the Champions League against Chelsea on March 18 as well as Germany's friendly against Italy scheduled for March 31 in Nuremberg.

Should Bayern proceed to the next round, games on April 7 or 8 would be affected.

Meanwhile, clubs puzzle over the question of the consequences caused by games behind closed doors. Experts rate the loss per game at around 2 to 2.5 million euros.

While Borussia Dortmund is secured by contingency insurance, others are uncertain if their insurance covers games without fans.

To carry out games with spectators, on the other hand, might cause claims for possible damages, for instance, when a fan gets infected while in the arena.

Clubs in danger to get promoted fear competitive disadvantages having to play without the support of their fans. Several Bundesliga clubs demanded to re-schedule entire matchdays.

The German ice hockey association is considering an early end of the 2019/2020 season skipping the final rounds of playoff games.

The German national handball team is going to cross swords in a friendly against the Netherlands without a crowd.

Several clubs, such as SC Freiburg and VfL Bochum, stopped ticket sales.

Handball Bundesliga side Eulen Ludwigshafen is instructed by local health authorities to collect personal data of every visitor for their next home game.

Horst Heldt, sports director of football first-tier side FC Cologne criticized the "inconsequent consequences" complaining about the confusion due to different actions. "I would prefer to get consistent orders everyone can follow," Heldt commented.


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