BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany’s Bundesliga is set to be given the green light for a restart, probably from May 15, as part of measures to further ease the country’s coronavirus regulations, two people familiar with the preparations told Reuters.
The Bundesliga would be the first of the five major European domestic soccer leagues to resume play after a stoppage which has seen almost all football put on hold around the world since mid-March.
German states are set agree on the restart in a teleconference with Chancellor Angela Merkel scheduled for Wednesday, the sources said. Matches would take place under strict conditions - and with no fans in stadiums.
So far Portugal, Poland and Hungary have given dates for restarting their national leagues, all towards the end of May.
Germany’s professional teams have been training since mid-April, divided into small groups and under strict conditions which include extensive testing of all players and coaching staff.
The German Football League (DFL) has submitted a health safety plan for games without spectators which includes regular testing of players but no quarantines for entire squads in cases of positive tests.
However, it says that if a player is infected, decisions on the measures to be taken lie with the local health authorities.
On Monday, the DFL said that it had registered 10 positive cases in a blanket test of 1,724 players and staff at its 36 first and second division clubs.
The DFL said a second round of tests would be carried out in the next week and there “may be isolated positive test results”.
Some media reports suggested that hopes of a restart had been hampered by the behaviour of players at Hertha Berlin on Monday.
Hertha forward Salomon Kalou posted a video on social media showing him shaking hands with players and interrupting a team mate’s medical exam. The club suspended the Ivorian, who apologised and said his behaviour did not reflect the club’s instructions to staff.
Reporting by Sabine Siebold, Andreas Rinke; Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Hugh Lawson