Bayern Munich’s players attend a training session ahead of the potential restart of the German League on May 16. Reuters
The Bundesliga restart is not at risk even after the entire squad of second-tier Dynamo Dresden was placed under quarantine, the head of the German Football League (DFL) said.
Dynamo were ordered to self-isolate for 14 days on Saturday after testing uncovered two new coronavirus cases.
The blow came just days after Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government gave the green light for the Bundesliga season to resume on May 16 following a two-month absence.
But DFL boss Christian Seifert downplayed the Dynamo setback.
“It’s not a reason to call the entire season into question,” he told German broadcaster ZDF late Saturday.
“It was always clear to me that this could happen. We’re at the very beginning of the restart.”
The Bundesliga will be the first top European league to restart matches since the outbreak of the coronavirus forced lockdown measures to be imposed across the continent.
Matches will be played behind closed doors and with a maximum number of 300 people, including both teams, allowed at each game.
In the run-up to the restart, all teams must go into a one-week quarantine training camp.
There are still worries that an outbreak of the coronavirus in the league could halt the resumed season, this time for good.
Seifert said that although he saw no problem right now, further coronavirus cases could throw a spanner in the works.
“It can reach a scale where it’s not feasible anymore,” he said. “It would depend on how much time there is left to finish the season.”
The Bundesliga season is slated to end on June 30, he said.
“A lot of player contracts are running out so we want to play as many games as possible before then,” Seifert said, adding that some matches could also be postponed until early July.
The quarantine means that Dynamo, who are bottom of the second division, will not be able to play their fixture against Hanover next weekend.
As well as the players, the club is isolating its entire coaching and supervisory staff.
The German league said on Thursday that it had recorded 10 positive cases from 1,724 tests of players and staff at the top 36 clubs in the first wave of testing, and two more in the second.
Need to be disciplined
Each individual player’s behaviour will be “crucial until the end of the season”, the medical head of the Bundesliga and UEFA’s efforts to restart the game across the continent warned on Sunday.
Tim Meyer, the head of the Bundesliga’s new coronavirus task force and chairman of the UEFA medical committee, said that while the German league had produced the safest possible system for resuming competition, it was vital that players showed discipline and kept to the new rules.
“Football has to give something back to the people now,” he told Reuters in an interview.
“That also means to be disciplined as a player. Keeping themselves away from the virus and the virus from them is the target. They need to be responsible.
“They are very public and need to show how to behave — on the pitch, play football as always but as soon as you leave the pitch, you are a citizen again and need to behave as a citizen in times of Corona,” he added.
The Bundesliga has produced a detailed set of strict guidelines for the restart which include three separate zones at stadiums to limit human contact and reduce the chances of viral transmission along with a large scale testing procedure.
There will also be an impact for those living with players.
The co-habitants, wives or partners of all Bundesliga players will be required to choose from three options — either to undergo two tests, agree to document each contact outside the house or they have to live separately.
However, the decision on how to respond to any positive tests amongst players -- and who in a squad might need to be quarantined as a result — will remain with the local health authorities in Germany.
That came into the spotlight on Saturday when Bundesliga 2 team Dynamo Dresden were told by their local health body to put the entire squad into 14 days quarantine after two of their players tested positive for the virus.
The decision means Dynamo will not be able to play their scheduled first game after the restart on May 17.
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