Germany's plans to restart competitive soccer on May 16 suffered an early setback after the entire team of second-tier Dynamo Dresden were placed in a two-week quarantine following two positive coronavirus tests. Photo: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters
Germany's plans to restart competitive soccer on May 16 suffered an early setback after the entire team of second-tier Dynamo Dresden were placed in a two-week quarantine following two positive coronavirus tests. Photo: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters

German league sticks to resumption plan despite Dresden quarantine

By Patrick Reichardt Time of article published May 10, 2020

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FRANKFURT - German professional football is still planning on restarting the season next weekend but the league's chief has acknowledged that more positive coronavirus tests like those at second division Dynamo Dresden could cause havoc.

"We are not changing the goal at the moment," German Football League (DFL) chief executive Christian Seifert told ZDF television late on Saturday.

But if other whole squads are ordered into quarantine "then at some point this will no longer be feasible," he added.

The DFL has a policy that only infected players have to go into quarantine, but the local health authority is in ultimate charge.

It has decided all of Dresden's squad must be isolated for 14 days despite only two players testing positive in a third wave of tests. One team-mate was positive in a first test.

The ruling means their first two games following the restart must be postponed. They were due to face Hanover next Sunday and Greuther Fuerth a week later.

The DFL got the go ahead from the German government on Wednesday for the Bundesliga and second division to resume the season without fans in stadiums following a two-month suspension due to the coronavirus crisis.

A restart next weekend was perfect timing for the DFL as it meant it could squeeze the remaining nine rounds of the season in before the traditional end to the campaign on June 30 - when player and broadcast contracts may be up.

Now bottom side Dresden will almost certainly have to play at least two games beyond that point.

"We are in contact with the responsible health authority and the German football league to coordinate all further steps," Dresden sporting director Ralf Minge said.

Germany is the first major European football league to be allowed to resume amid the coronavirus pandemic and the restart was being closely watched by other countries such as England, which hopes to start up again next month.

The Dresden issue will have spooked some itching for a return in other nations but Seifert is standing firm, stating that the procedures put in place are designed to stop infected players taking to the pitch.

"It was absolutely clear that this could happen," he said.

The DFL had announced that there had been 10 positive tests from a first tranche of checks, including three at Bundesliga side Cologne. However, Cologne did not go into full quarantine, with even one of their own players questioning the decision.

Second division Aue did decide to go into full quarantine but will be out of it for next weekend's resumption - assuming there are no more positive tests.

dpa

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