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Bundesliga: Germany to restart football league with 'ghost games'

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
Bundesliga: Germany to restart football league with 'ghost games'
Is football about to get back up and running in Germany? Photo: DPA

The government plans to allow Germany's Bundesliga to restart behind closed doors in May after weeks of shutdown imposed to control the spread of the coronavirus.

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That's according to a draft document ahead of a meeting between Chancellor Angela Merkel and state premiers on Wednesday, May 6th.

Politicians believe restarting play in the first and second divisions to "limit the economic damage" for the 36 clubs is "acceptable", the document showed.

Games would be shown without spectators attending, so-called 'ghost games'.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and state premiers will set a date for the games to begin in a telephone conference later Wednesday, with German media reporting May 21st was a possible candidate.

"Restarting match activity must be preceded by a two-week quarantine, where appropriate in the form of a training camp" for players, the document read.

Germany's influential DFL football league has long urged restarting play, which it says is vital for a sector that employs 56,000 people in Germany.

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It has offered authorities a strict infection control plan based on numerous coronavirus tests, which it says would allow the competition to be relaunched with low risk.

READ ALSO: German Bundesliga starts testing players for coronavirus amid restart hopes

Health Minister Jens Spahn has judged that the scheme "makes sense and can serve as an example for other forms of professional sport," although "it has to be lived up to".

German clubs stand to recoup €300 million ($325 million) in TV rights if they are allowed to contest the nine remaining match days in the Bundesliga season.

That could help soak up some of their financial losses, with more than a dozen of the 36 first- and second-division teams on the brink of bankruptcy according to media reports.

The DFL will hold a general meeting by video conference Thursday where representatives from the clubs will finalise details of the restart.

Most have already begun training again in anticipation.

READ ALSO: Coronavirus forces first ever Bundesliga game in Germany behind closed doors

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