Stunning news out of Germany as Bundesliga chief Christian Seifert says that it is unlikely that the matches will be played in front of fans until 2021!
That timeline is something that has been whispered recently. But this is the first time that someone with authority in football has made such a public comments.
Germany has managed the coronavirus pandemic as well as anyone in Europe, which puts them in a position to return to training, and competition, before any of the other top five leagues.
In an interview with the New York Times, chief executive officer Seifert revealed that the current plan is for games to return to all 36 grounds in the top two divisions by the start of May.
“We are part of the culture in the country, people long to get back a short piece of normal life, and that could mean the Bundesliga plays again,” Seifert said.
“This is why we have to play our role here, and that means to support the government and to talk
The last nine fixtures scheduled for this campaign will, according to Seifert, be completed by the end of June.
He did, though, admit that there would be a blow for fans in the fact that they are not going to be allowed to attend the matches – and will instead have to watch on TV.
And Seifert himself does not believe that they will be let back into grounds to watch their teams play until the end of 2020.
In working out a plan, the Bundesliga estimates that 240 people, including players, coaching and medical staff, match officials and production staff will be needed for each game.
Two groups have been set up to deal with the practicalities of staging the game: one to set up uniform game day regulations and the other, perhaps more important, to devise a hygiene plan for training and games and to work out what measures to take if a player tests positive.
“The concept is to give certainty to players, to their families and to society as well,” Seifert said.
He also suggested the transfer market would fall to pieces over the summer.
‘In the short term I would say the transfer market this summer will not exist, it will collapse,’ he said.
‘Some agents will suddenly understand that they will have to work hard, or at least work; some leagues will understand that money is nothing that is coming automatically every month from heaven.’
Bayern was supposed to visit Dortmund last weekend for a match with huge title implications. If the league decides to add the postponed matches to the end of the schedule and move ahead, that would likely result in Dortmund hosting Bayern in late May or early June.