The Bundesliga will Restart Despite Dynamo Dresden Blow
Germany’s Bundesliga is set to resume this weekend, becoming the first major European football league to return since the coronavirus outbreak. Football has been given the green light to continue, behind closed doors, despite players from Dynamo Dresden testing positive for the virus.
Last week, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the latest gradual reopening of large shops, schools, nurseries, and even some shops and bars. Germany’s response to the crisis has been widely heralded as a success due to the low death count from the virus when compared to other major European countries such as the UK, Italy and Spain.
Germany has had 7,661 deaths with 173k confirmed cases and 143k recovered. In comparison, the UK has seen 32,065 deaths, Spain 26,744 and Italy with 30,739 deaths attributed to the COVID-19 outbreak. However, as Germany relaxes measures, the number of cases has risen, prompting fears of a second wave. Some experts even forecast that Germany’s success in the first wave could lead to a more severe second wave. Resumption of football in Germany’s top two leagues will continue even though two players at Dynamo Dresden tested positive for coronavirus on Sunday. As a result, all of Dresden’s first-team squad and coaching staff were immediately placed in quarantine for 14 days. Dresden’s games against Hannover on 17 May and Greuther Furth on 24 May have been cancelled. Their midweek game against Arminia Bielefeld is also in doubt. The league hopes that Dresden will resume their fixtures after the quarantine period, although this will lead to a heavy fixture schedule for the bottom-placed club.
For British football fans, the return of football in any guise will be well received and likely to attract large numbers of viewers. This will be welcome news to broadcaster BT who owns the rights for the German league and UK betting companies who have seen revenues plummet.
BT could become the first broadcaster to show a live football game during the traditional blackout time of Saturday between 3 pm – 5 pm. Earlier this month, UEFA removed the rule that prevented games being broadcast during this window to protect spectator numbers. BT has vaguely hinted on its social media platforms that games could be made free-to-air, although the broadcaster hasn’t confirmed this at the time of writing. In England, talks about resuming the Premier League are still ongoing and how the Bundesliga manage their return to footballing action will be watched intently by many. As part of ‘Project Restart’, Premier League bosses state there have been “ongoing dialogue” with the government, police and ground safety officials.
Premier League clubs met via videolink on Monday to discuss plans to restart the season. The Premier League had initially wanted to play the remaining games in the league at neutral venues, an idea that has not been received well by some clubs, especially those close to the relegation zone.
Despite the consensus of clubs to resume play, publicly at least, the Premier League chief admitted that the topic of cancelling the current season had been discussed for the first time. Richard Masters insisted that a powerful collective will to complete the season remains but added;
It’s the first time we’ve discussed curtailment, It’s still our aim to finish the season obviously, but it’s important to discuss all of the options with our clubs.– Richard Masters, Premier League chief executive
The Premier League and the clubs are hoping the government will green-light their proposals to resume games on 1 June, with the anticipated first fixture taking place 12 June. Broadcasters, including BT and Sky, collectively paid £9.2billion for the 2019-22 cycle. Completing the contractual number of games, the league hopes, would minimise the risk of legal challenges from the companies.