The last months had been difficult for football fans around the world. It’s been two months and a couple of days since the major football leagues stopped due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The culmination of the Ligue 1 in France and the voiding of the Eredivisie in the Netherlands, seemed to be the guide of what has to be done with football leagues.
However, to give or take away from a team the league title without finishing the season, or to relegate a team who didn’t play all its matches, didn’t seem to be a fair solution, at least from the sportive side.
Therefore, the other great European leagues have been searching the proper way to finalize the season despite the pandemic, and finally, the German Bundesliga will be the first great league to come back to action this Saturday 16 of May.
So, we came to evaluate if the returning of football was the right call and all the implications that come with it.
Last Wednesday 6 of May, the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, announced to the country a relaxation on the measurements taken against Covid-19, after holding a meeting with the 16 leaders of every German state.
That is why the government gave the green light for the return of the Bundesliga among other things.
Even when Germany is the seventh nation with more infected people in the world (1700), just a few amounts of people died of Covid-19 in the country, when compared to other European nations.
Therefore, Merkel, accepted football´s return in the country, as long as all the clubs follow the already agreed measures that the government and German FA (DFB) created.
The DFB president, Christian Seifart, is aware that social distancing is impossible to achieve in the football pitch, which is a good starting point if we take into account that other leagues like the English one, are trying to create all sorts of rules which would denaturalize the game.
Seifart committed to giving the best hygiene and protection to the players, with a series of measures that should be taken before every match.
First and as a fundamental rule, every match will be played behind closed doors, no public allowed.
Also, the maximum number of people involved in the match will be 300 between managers, coaching staff, players, required club staff, and a maximum of 10 journalists.
Outside the football flied
These 300 people will be distributed in 3 different zones.
Zone 1: Field, tunnel, and dressing rooms.
Zone 2: press area and stands.
Zone 3: Stadium surroundings
The maximum of people allowed within one zone is 115.
Furthermore, the press conferences will be virtually taken, being this one of the most interesting measures implemented by the Bundesliga.
Before, during and after the match
As for what is concerned about the match, the protocols begin from the team’s arrival to the stadium.
Every team should arrive separately, and once they are in the dressing rooms, the players should be separated by 1,5m and with a mask all the time. Additionally, they can’t stay for more than 40 minutes in the dressing room.
Furthermore, the entrance and exit to the field will be individual, player by player, in the beginning, half-time, and end of the match. The protocol greeting and the team photo wouldn’t be allowed as well.
What if a player gets infected?
Without a doubt, the most controversial measures the Bundesliga took, are the most important ones.
First, all the players will have a Covid-19 test every week until the end of the tournament, as the DFB bought 20000 tests to cover the missing matches of the season.
But, if players get tested only once a week, that doesn’t give a lot of warranties, it should be once in a week and the closest possible to the next match, taking into account that the tests take one or two days to arrive.
But, the most controversial measure, was the one took in case a player tested positive for Covid-19.
Only the player how tested positive will be forced to go to quarantine, the rest of the players will continue competing. This is especially dangerous if the player was in contact with the rest of his teammates during the training or matches.
Anyway, despite the measurements are correct or not, there is no going back now, the football will be rolling this weekend.
Bundesliga, the lab rat
Undoubtedly, all the other leagues will be on the edge of their seats waiting to see how the development of the Bundesliga goes as it is the first one to be back.
The Italian Serie A, the English Premier League, and the Spanish La Liga will be taking notes of all the logistics behind the return of the Bundesliga.
And if something serious happens, all these leagues will have a good amount of reaction time to improve all the mistakes that happen in Germany or to void their leagues.
It´s is worth highlighting that in the end, Germany decided to restart the league after the analysis of the Covid-19 date in their country.
This is especially important, as it seems that the other leagues just want to restart because in Germany they already did, and not because they are considering the infected amount of people and the general conditions of their respective countries in regards to the virus.
Leagues should take into account their nation’s specific situation because this virus varies in each country and it will be a terrible mistake to rely on general data as the worldwide tendency of infect or deceased.
A vicious circle?
Even though the Germans are excited about the return of football, and the reopening of many things in general, the BBC published a post in which they explained how since last Wednesday when Merkel decided to relax the measurements, the number of infected cases started to increase again.
They haven’t been exaggerated numbers, as Germany only has around 40 confirmed cases a day, one of the lowest worldwide. But, if the cases are increasing once again, that shows, that at the moment it is impossible to go back to complete normality…
For now, we can only hope for the better, that any footballer gets infected and even worse, that football´s return doesn’t generate people conglomerations to watch the matches.
Honestly, we think that football´s return was a little precipitated in a moment in which it seems that the only solution for the virus will be the creation of a vaccine.
And even if it is not the right call, countries need to reactivate their economies little by little as some fundamentals industries come back to life, however, football is not one of them and its returning is more a whim.
Here more than in other places, we love and are football passionate, but we have to be aware that one life is worth more than the entertainment of millions.