Bundesliga eyes elbow celebrations and away team win if fans turn up
BERLIN – Bundesliga footballers will only be allowed to celebrate together with "brief elbow or foot contact" when the German football top flight resumes on May 16 following the coronavirus hiatus, Bild newspaper reported on Saturday.
Eintracht Frankfurt sporting director Fredi Bobic also revealed that away teams would be awarded the points if masses of fans congregrate outside home stadiums for the games behind closed doors.
The German government gave the green light on Wednesday for the German first and second divisions to become the first major European football leagues to resume. But the football experience will be radically different to anything seen before.
High fives and hugging in the case of goals or victories should be avoided, the Bild report said, citing an internal German Football League (DFL) document. Spitting is also not permitted.
There will be no child mascots, no handshakes, no team photos and squads will come out of the tunnel at different times.
The report said the DFL document also requests that everyone on the bench wears a mask and that seats are left empty in between each person.
"The coach may remove the nose and mouth mask to call out instructions, as long as he keeps a minimum distance of 1.5 metres from all other people," Bild quoted the document as saying.
Time spent in the dressing room should be "limited to a necessary minimum", the paper adds, meaning "30 to 40 minutes" for each individual.
The DFL could not be reached for comment.
It is not just players and team officials who are being asked to change behaviour.
The last nine rounds of the season, which the DFL hopes to complete by the end of June, will be played without fans because of the pandemic.
Some health experts are worried that fans will congregate outside stadiums, increasing the infection risk. The fear has led the English Premier League to consider playing behind closed door games at neutral venues if their season restarts.
The Bundesliga is not following suit with neutral venues and Eintracht Frankfurt sporting director Fredi Bobic has implored supporters not to come to home stadiums and stand outside.
"We have talked a lot with our fans and said: 'Listen, guys, don't show up at the stadium. If you show up there, we'll lose the game because the rules are very strict," Bobic told ESPN, saying the away side would be awarded the points if public health is put a risk.
But Bobic trusts his supporters will do as they are told.
"They are smart. They've followed the rules over the last few weeks and done a lot for the community, especially the elderly," he said.dpa