May 3, 2020 / 12:07 PM / a month ago

Germany's interior minister backs Bundesliga restart

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Bayern Munich Training - Saebener Strasse, Munich, Germany - April 24, 2020 Bayern Munich coach Hans-Dieter Flick and Robert Lewandowski during training despite most sport being cancelled around the world as the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID19) continues REUTERS/Andreas Gebert/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer on Sunday backed a possible restart for the Bundesliga season this month without spectators as the government prepares for a key meeting next week.

Although Bundesliga clubs have returned to training in small groups, the league has been suspended since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic and the government is to decide next week on a potential resumption of sports activities.

The German Football League (DFL), eager for a quick restart, has submitted a health safety plan for games without spectators which includes regular testing of players but no quarantine for entire squads in cases of positive tests.

“I find the time frame of the German Football League plausible and I support a restart in May,” Seehofer told Bild newspaper. “But for me it is also clear that there should be no extra privileges for the league.”

He also said he was in favour of full team quarantine in cases of positive test, something that is not planned in the DFL blueprint.

“But I am in favour of trying to attempt to play again,” he said.

The cash-strapped clubs and league are desperate to resume play as soon as possible, even without spectators, so the season can contractually finish by June 30.

Germany has suffered over 6,600 deaths from coronavirus with more than 162,00 people infected.

Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Ed Osmond

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