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German’s could be back on the pitch within a fortnight

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GERMANY’S Bundesliga looks set to become the first of the Big Five European domestic leagues to restart their 2019-20 season after plans were announced on Thursday to kick things off as early as 9 May.The Bundesliga authorities have already said all fixtures will be played behind closed doors, meaning the ban on large gatherings will not be breached. The coronavirus has never really taken hold in Germany the way it has in Italy, Spain, England, and France, although a number of issues need to be addressed even before the first ball is kicked.

These include clearance from the German government, although early soundings are optimistic, partly for public morale reasons. There will also need to be a massive programme of testing not just of players but among the 300 or so people who would still be needed at a “closed-door event”, from coaching staff to TV crews and ball boys. Though Germany’s testing programme has been huge the testing for football matches would use about 0.5% of the state’s current capacity, all for a non-essential event.

Money is at the heart of much of this of course, with many Bundesliga clubs facing insolvency if things continue as they are. However, if they become the first major league to restart the TV rights money could be huge. Player’s opinions will also need to be gauged with fears that they will have to self-isolate with team-mates and coaching staff for the duration of the end of the season.

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