Bundesliga clubs agree to season suspension until April 30
BERLIN – Bundesliga clubs agreed on Tuesday that the suspension of the season because of the coronavirus should be extended until April 30, the German Football League (DFL) has said.
The campaign was first stopped on March 13 and the DFL already said last week that it would recommend a further suspension until the end of next month.
Now the 36 top-flight and second division clubs in Germany have unanimously accepted the measure following a DFL assembly via videoconference.
"Professional football means a lot to very many people. I am sure there are lots of people who will be excited by the return of professional football ... even without fans. But we are not at that point yet," DFL chief executive Christian Seifert told a news conference.
Seifert said the aim was still to finish the season by the end of June but that team training would remain banned until at least April 5.
Playing games behind closed doors once a resumption is possible remains a likely option, Seifert added, as German football races to try to finish the season. There are nine rounds of matches left in the current Bundesliga.
UEFA, the European governing body, has already postponed June and July's European Championship for a year in order to allow European league time to complete their campaigns.
Seifert said the DFL assembly had also discussed the financial implications of no football.
The league will relax various rules with regard to club finances. In the event of an insolvency, there will be no deduction of nine points this term. In the coming season, only three instead of nine points would be deducted.
"We need plans with a lot of flexibility because we don't know how the next few weeks are going to pan out," Seifert added. "The salary cuts and donations we have seen in recent days are important signals."
Losses could reach 750 million euros (829 million dollars) if the season can't be completed and the future of some clubs will be in doubt.
As a result, many hope the season can be completed behind closed doors to minimize the financial hits because that would at least generate television income.
At today's Ordinary Assembly of the #DFL the #Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 clubs unanimously resolved to suspend match operations in both leagues until at least 30 April in light of the #coronavirus and its consequences.— DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga (@DFL_Official) March 31, 2020
Further information ➡️ https://t.co/AenHxnMT3n pic.twitter.com/PrgRMpFWy1
"Some clubs could be in a situation in May or June where their very existence is threatened," Seifert said, without giving names.
Seifert said clubs must also brace themselves for losing more spectator income because fans may be prohibited from attending matches for a longer period, possibly even "until the end of the year."