Sport

Bundesliga reveals plans to restart in early May

In an interview with the New York Times, Bundesliga chief executive Christian Seifert said that the German top flight is targeting an early May return to play from its coronavirus shutdown, with teams already conducting training sessions.

Seifert said that while he does not expect fans to be able to return to stadiums by the end of the calendar year, games will go on ahead in empty stadiums.

“We are part of the culture in the country, people long to get back a short piece of normal life, and that could mean the Bundesliga plays again,” Seifert said. “This is why we have to play our role here, and that means to support the government and to talk with the government about when we will be able to play again.”

Germany has the fourth-most positive COVID-19 identifications, but one of the lowest death rates in the world as the country provides a model for a health care system designed to absorb a pandemic.

Seifert said in the interview that the league has estimated around 240 essential personnel are required to put on an individual league game, from players to coaching staff to officiating crew to medical staff and beyond. The league has set up a task force to develop a logistical plan for putting on games safely, while another works on developing a “hygiene plan” to allow for repeated congregating during training and matches, also devising a plan for if someone involved tests positive.

Seifert highlighted the importance of returning to play, saying that “we are all fighting to survive” and estimating that cancelling the season could cost upwards of $815 million.