Bundesliga season to resume on May 16, German Football League says

Bundesliga season restart on May 16, the German Football League (DFL) said on Thursday, becoming the first European league to resume amid the coronavirus epidemic.

The DFL said the season would resume the terms a strict health protocol that bans fans from the stadium.

Several matches, including the Ruhr valley derby between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04, take place on the relaunch day.

While it was no normal restart, given the empty stands and other restrictions, it was crucial to resume play, DFL CEO Christian Seifert told a news conference.

He was speaking after a meeting with first and second clubs following government’s decision on Wednesday to give the green light the Bundesliga restart.

Government had also promised to throw a lifeline to the cash-strapped clubs.

The DFL is desperate to finish the season by June 30, without spectators, to contractually in compliance with sponsors and broadcasters.

 It had warned any further delay could “existence-threatening” some clubs.

“The season finale take place at the end June,” Seifert said, with June 27 to June 28 as a likely date.

The league has been on hold since mid-March because the coronavirus outbreak, which has football to a standstill around the .

Germany’s progress in resuming matches is likely to closely watched by other leagues.

The country’s teams have been training since mid-April, divided into small groups and strict conditions, including extensive COVID-19 testing of all players and coaching staff.

The country has reported more than 166,000 infections and more than 7,000 deaths.

Officials said on Thursday the coronavirus crisis was far from over in spite of the country slowly reopening and trying to get life back to normal.

Bayern Munich, chasing an eighth successive title, currently lead the table with 55 points from 25 games, four ahead of Borussia Dortmund with RB Leipzig third on 50.

 There are nine rounds of matches left to play.(Reuters/NAN)

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