The Bundesliga is ready to return on May 9 if the German government gives it the green light, league officials have confirmed.
The league has been suspended since mid-March due to the outbreak of coronavirus, which has infected more than 148,000 and killed over 5,000 people in Germany.
Its resumption, behind closed doors, remains dependent on government and all federal states’ approval, and Bundesliga chief executive Christian Seifert warned providing an exact date “would be presumptuous and is not in our hands”.
“If we start on 9 May, we are ready. If it is later, we will be ready again,” DFL chief executive Seifert said on Thursday.
“For us, what is decisive is what the politicians will decide. It is not for us to decide when.
“Games without spectators are not what we want – but at the moment the only thing that seems feasible
Finishing the 2019/20 season remains the priority in German football, with Seifert insisting failing to do so would mean:
“the Bundesliga would be a collateral damage to the coronavirus crisis”.
“I, as a representative of the professional clubs, cannot have that as my goal,” he said.
The Bundesliga is collaborating with five different laboratories to ensure adequate testing for coronavirus and the plan is that players will be tested at least once a week, which would require around 20,000 tests for this season.
He said: “Players have to be shielded under specific safety rules to prevent infections, because they are not able to avoid contact on the pitch” says Alexander Kekule, a biochemist from Martin Luther University in Halle
Regular testing could create a headache from a practical standpoint, because it is impossible to know whether a player is already infected when he takes to the pitch.
“It takes a couple of days before someone, who has contracted the virus, tests positive,” Martin Eichner, an epidemiologist from University of Tubingen, explains.
He dismisses the option of faster detection tests that have been in development, as they are not fully reliable yet.
I understand that teams want to resume the season so that they can collect revenue from TV broadcasters and sponsors. But one positive test will bring this restarted season to an abrupt end and open the clubs up to lawsuits from infected players.