Bundesliga

The German Football League (DFL) has laid out plans for the 2019-20 Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga seasons to be completed behind closed doors, with a goal of completing the campaign by the end of June.

The DFL yesterday (Tuesday) ratified last week’s recommendation to further suspend play until at least April 30 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this month, play was suspended until April 2. The announcement came just hours after the DFL said the weekend’s games would take place behind closed doors where possible, before a full suspension from March 17.

The DFL had earlier unanimously agreed that it wanted to complete the current season by June 30, including without spectators if absolutely necessary. The goal is for matches to take place with a minimal workforce inside the stadia.

DFL CEO Christian Seifert yesterday said team training could not resume before April 5. German newspaper Bild said two start dates, either May 1-3 or May 8-10, are being considered with the season designed to end on June 21.

“We cannot even discuss anything earlier than April 30,” Seifert told a news conference. “It would be completely inappropriate. Germany has other things to deal with at the moment.”

To aid planning, the DFL yesterday formed a ‘Sports Medicine/Special Match Operations Task Force’. The task force will begin by centrally documenting all COVID-19 cases at the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga clubs. The commission is also developing a procedure for the strict and independent testing of players and other staff members, including immediately prior to matchdays.

In addition, organisational measures for preventing transmission at stadia and specific processes for organising matches and training will be defined in close cooperation with external experts and authorities and set out in the form of standardised guidelines.

Seifert added: “I am sure a lot of people would be happy about the return of the Bundesliga. A little distraction would work very well.”

Sport in China

The Chinese government has ordered all major sports events to remain suspended due to COVID-19, meaning that competitions such as basketball’s CBA and football’s Super League (CSL) will have to put off hope of a mid-April return to action.

The CBA has been suspended since January 24, while the start of the 2020 CSL season, scheduled for February 22, was postponed. In a statement, China’s General Administration of Sport said: “In order to fulfil our duty to stop the virus being imported at the border and prevent the rebound in domestic infections, and to reduce unnecessary people flow and its consequent threat to virus prevention, from now until further notice major sporting events which gather crowds, such as marathons, will not resume.

“In the meantime, please continue to direct the public to maintain a healthy lifestyle and organise online sporting activities. The National Sports Bureau will update according to the developing virus situation.”

The Associated Press news agency said the CBA is considering a proposal to bring all 20 teams to one or two cities, potentially Dongguan or Qingdao, to play games behind closed doors. Teams currently have 16 regular-season games left to play.